In a series of campaign appearances between 2007 and 2009, Rand Paul committed what amounts to a mortal sin among Republicans.
Mother Jones reported Wednesday on video footage showing the Kentucky senator register repeated criticism of Ronald Reagan’s budgetary record.
Paul took his GOP blasphemy even further when he said that Republican punchline Jimmy Carter actually had a better record on government spending than Reagan.
“The deficit went through the roof under Reagan,” he said while stumping for his father, Ron Paul, at a campaign event in 2007.
“So how long did it take Ron Paul to figure out that the guy he had liked, endorsed, campaigned for, campaigned for him? The very first [Reagan] budget. Ron Paul voted ‘no’ against the very first Reagan budget… Everybody loved this ‘great’ budget. It was a $100 billion in debt. This was three times greater than Jimmy Carter’s worst deficit.”
Paul’s office promptly issued a statement to Mother Jones.
“I have always been and continue to be a great supporter of Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and the millions of jobs they created,” the senator said in the statement. “Clearly spending during his tenure did not lessen, but he also had to contend with Democrat majorities in Congress.”
In what’s likely an effort to endear himself to GOP primary voters ahead of 2016, Paul has gone out of his way lately to praise Reagan.
The senator’s father faced questions about his own loyalty to Reagan when he ran for president in the 2012 election.
A Ron Paul campaign ad attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for supporting Al Gore for president in 1988. The ad declared Paul as “the one who stood with Reagan.”
Perry’s campaign was quick to highlight Ron Paul’s breakup with the GOP in 1987, when the libertarian hero wrote in a letter to the Republican National Committee that “Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party have given us skyrocketing deficits, and astoundingly doubled national debt.”