Libertarian-leaning GOP presidential candidate for 2016, Rand Paul, visited George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus and spoke on his key issues: decriminalization of marijuana and revoking mandatory jail sentences for drug possession, onerous government surveillance of Americans and shrinking the size of government. He also made a reference to Ferguson, Missouri in relation to mandatory jail sentences for drug charges.
Senator Rand Paul, who, according to an article from the university’s newsletter GW Today, is “polling at around 3 percent” in the current GOP presidential field, spoke for about 22 minutes and “stayed in his comfort zone” during his stump speech. Some of the highlights of his speech included:
- “I don’t think we should be putting you and your friends in jail for marijuana… It’s a dumb idea.”
- “Government so small, you can barely see it.”
- “One thing you could figure out from meeting people in the community is for every 100 black women in Ferguson, there are only 60 black men. We’ve incarcerated a whole generation of people.”
- “Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, they were part of the problem. They were the ones that introduced all this war on drugs and made it worse.”
Fellow Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was also a target of Paul’s rhetoric:
“When we look at this and saw how are you going to fix this? You’ve got to get rid of hypocrisy…”
“And so when I pointed out that I didn’t like Jeb Bush still being for the marijuana laws, and he admitted [that] when he was in school he smoked marijuana—I don’t care if he smoked marijuana. I don’t care if he’s rich. I’m all for being rich. I want to be rich. But he’s at an elite school, [Phillips Academy in] Andover, [Mass.], up in the Northeast, primarily with very wealthy people. He said, ‘I smoked pot, no big deal.’”
“Well, yeah the police don’t come to your school, all right? So we need to understand that that it isn’t OK, unless he’s going to consistently be for giving the same chance to other kids.”
There were at least 600 people in attendance for the Rand Paul speech and several had to be turned away due to the size of the crowd and venue space. Sen. Paul’s libertarian message has made its rounds at several colleges in the Washington, D.C. area, such as the historically black college, Howard University.