Sen. Rand Paul speaks about government surveillance at Cal

Republican Sen. Rand Paul delivered a speech to a large crowd at UC Berkeley about government surveillance programs on Wednesday afternoon.
March 19, 2014 7:26:09 PM PDT
You might think that Sen. Rand Paul, Republican-Ky., would be the kind of right leaning politician that would bring out the protestors at UC Berkeley, but that was hardly the case when the tea party favorite spoke Wednesday at the university's Chevron Auditorium.

Dressed in blue jeans and a polo shirt, Paul entered the Chevron Auditorium to a warm reception.

The choice of Cal and the city of Berkeley as the place to try and win Republican votes at first glance may look like an uphill battle.

According to Alameda County voter registration records, the city's voter pool is almost 65 percent Democratic and only 4.2 percent Republican.

But Paul's message was about more than turning Democrats and Independents into Republicans, it was about issues he says Americans of every political stripe can relate to -- government spying.

"If you own a cellphone, you're under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cellphone is none of their damn business," Paul said.

That was one of several lines that brought applause from the audience and suggested why some find the senator so appealing.

"I really don't agree with either extreme to completely so I guess a moderate candidate," Cal student Jessica Evaristo said.

"I think that it's good to counter the notion that Berkeley is this liberal place and that's all we are," Cal ASUC Caitlin Quinn said.

Quinn should know as a senator of UC Berkeley's student body, she says different messages are important and the invitation extended to the junior senator from Kentucky to speak makes perfect sense.

"The government has reached too far in a lot of ways and that we're in a lot of wars that we shouldn't necessarily be in," Quinn said.

After his speech, the senator addressed the elephant in the room, his 2016 political ambitions and should he decide to run and when he would announce.

"I know it won't be before the elections in 2014 and from there I don't know because we haven't made a final decision," Paul said.

The overflow crowd meant that some Paul supporters were forced to wait outside, to catch a glimpse of the man they believe could change the face of the Republican Party.

The Chevron Auditorium was packed with more than 400 people. The only thing missing was demonstrators. The university known for protestors was quiet. It could be that they not only enjoyed messenger, but the message.


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