by Paul Bowers
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a 2016 candidate for president, will speak Thursday at a rally in front of the U.S.S. Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant.
Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican, kicked off a five-day campaign tour today in his home state of Kentucky, where he formally announced his intention to run for the White House. His catchy new slogan? "Defeat the Washington machine. Unleash the American dream." Gotta love slant rhyme.
According to the New York Times, Paul earned big applause during his campaign announcement by criticizing the widespread domestic surveillance that has taken place under the watch of President Barack Obama. He reportedly promised, "As president, on Day 1 I will immediately end unconstitutional surveillance."
Expect to see more candidates swinging through the Palmetto State in the coming months. South Carolina, which traditionally holds the earliest Republican primary election in the South, is a magnet for presidential hopefuls, and the Yorktown in particular is a popular stumping ground for Republicans. In the run-up to the 2012 election, both Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann paid visits to the WWII-era aircraft carrier. Santorum in particular seemed to relish standing in front of an old propeller plane onboard the ship as he repeatedly called out Mitt Romney for being a "moderate."
A bit of speculation: Paul might be using the Yorktown as a backdrop to talk more extensively about his foreign policy and military platform, which more hawkish members of the Republican Party are quick to criticize as being overly isolationist. Just a hunch.
The Rand Paul rally will last from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday. The event is free, but attendees are required to register ahead of time at southcarolinaforrandpaul.com.