Rand Paul: Jeb Not Conservative Enough

Rand Paul speaks during a town-hall style campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire on May 11. Brian Snyder/Reuters

During a town hall event in New Hampshire Monday, 2016 presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul said there are two arguments for keeping government small—the "liberty argument" and the "efficiency argument."

"The liberty argument was put forward by Thomas Paine; he said, 'Government is a necessary evil,'" Paul said. "Oh, that sounds terrible. He's saying government is evil. No, I'm saying it's a necessary one."

Paul, R-Kentucky, elaborated on his theory of government, arguing that you must have "some of it, but you don't want too much of it."

"It's not no government, we just want small government," Paul said. "It can't be that bad, I'm part of it," he joked.

"The efficiency argument," according to Paul, is that "nobody spends somebody else's money as wisely as their own," and that individuals are more likely to be judicious with their money than politicians in Washington, D.C.

Paul criticized Democrats and his fellow Republicans for "growing the debt" and "making the government bigger," and he accused some of his potential GOP opponents in the presidential race as not being "conservative" enough.

"I won't mention any names" said Paul, "but he was the former governor of Florida."

In a nod to independents, Paul said that to win purple states, Republicans not only need to attract business owners, but "the people who work for those businesses." The best way to do that, according to Paul, is to be the party "that stands for the whole Bill of Rights."

Paul cited National Security Agency spying, civil asset forfeiture and Common Core as examples of big government that his party should fight against. Paul said that if civil liberties are not protected, than people could be targeted for the "shade of their ideology."

He answered several audience questions on subjects like Common Core, Iran, immigration and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Paul said that veterans should be free to choose to receive their care from a VA facility, but should also be given the option to use vouchers at another health care provider.

During the question-and-answer session, Paul also criticized the structure of the United Nations, and he said that he is "for dialogue" with the international community, but against "paying for people to attack America."

On immigration, Paul cited Milton Friedman, who argued that a nation can't have both an open border and a welfare state.

Paul was accompanied at the town hall event by members of the state senate and house who have endorsed him for president, including State Senator Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, the co-chair of his New Hampshire campaign.

Kate Scanlon is a news reporter for the Daily Signal, which is where this article first appeared.