Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul accused both Republicans and Democrats of being "guilty of spending too much" in his tea party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
"It is often said that there is not enough bipartisanship up here. That is not true. In fact, there is plenty of bipartisanship," Paul said in a speech for Tea Party Express that streamed live on the group's website shortly after Obama's speech. "Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses."
Despite being an elected member of the Senate, the junior senator from Kentucky at times spoke as though he were an outsider—even using the word "they" when referring to other members of the institution to which he belongs.
Paul delivered his remarks after the official Republican response, given by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio from the Capitol. Paul joined Rubio in accusing the president of working to undermine the "free market," but Paul's remarks also included a call for an amendment to the Constitution that would require the federal government to balance its budget every year, a tea party rallying cry.
"What the president fails to grasp is that the American system that rewards hard work is what made America so prosperous," Paul said. "What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith."
Paul advocated for term limits for members of Congress as punishment for not passing a budget and reining in spending.
"If Congress refuses to obey its own rules, if Congress refuses to pass a budget, if Congress refuses to read the bills, then I say: Sweep the place clean. Limit their terms and send them home," Paul said. "I have seen the inner sanctum of Congress, and believe me there is no monopoly on knowledge there. If they will not listen, if they will not balance the budget, then we should limit their terms."
The speech gave Paul, who has said he's thinking about running for president someday, an opportunity to brand himself as an alternative to the party establishment. Because being an outsider, of course, is what being a tea party lawmaker is all about.
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