2016: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Test Presidential Waters in NH

Published on April 13, 2014

By Gabriel Debenedetti

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Conservative Republican Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz tested the 2016 presidential waters at an event on Saturday in the influential state of New Hampshire at which potential opponents from the more moderate wing of the party did not appear.

The “Freedom Summit” rally was the latest in a series of stops for Cruz and Paul, who are hoping to win the favor of the party’s right wing for potential White House bids.

The event was co-hosted by Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and the single largest advertiser in the 2014 election cycle so far. Among other speakers was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who ran for the Republican nomination in 2008 and is seen as a potential 2016 contender.

Paul, a favorite among libertarians, cautioned Republicans against compromising.

“Some say we just need to dilute our message, let’s just be a little more like the Democrats,” the Kentucky Republican told the audience. “You think that’s a good idea? Hogwash. It’s exactly the wrong thing to do. Our problem isn’t that we are too bold. Our problem is that we are too timid.”

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