As part of his focus on 2016 caucus states, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul visited Colorado ahead of the GOP debate to reach out to college students — which he considers the one of his strongest bases of support.
The first topic he mentioned: marijuana.
“I want to give you an idea what it’s like in Washington,” Paul said about the state’s legalization of marijuana. “They are really, really worried about you. … And I kid you not, they think you are wielding axes and running naked through the streets. They think it’s utter mayhem out here.”
“I’m not here to advocate for marijuana,” Paul continued. “But I’m here to advocate for freedom. And you know what, if I’m president I’m going to leave Colorado the hell alone.”
The line won Paul big applause from the roughly 200 students and supporters in the crowd at the University of Colorado-Denver.
Earlier this year, Paul visited Colorado and became the first major presidential candidate to attend a fundraiser with the marijuana industry.
The rest of his remarks focused on the Bill of Rights and need to uphold the constitution. He took aim at Donald Trump for not adamantly protecting private property rights and criticized all Republicans for not being stronger on the issue.
In remarks before the event, Paul offered a preview of his remarks at Wednesday’s GOP debate in Boulder as he made clear he would filibuster the new budget deal struck by the White House and Congress to avoid a government shutdown.
“I think it is a horrible — it’s hard for me to not use profanity in describing it,” Paul said. “It is basically a blank check to the president and Congress to raise as much money and spend as much money as you want until March 2017.
“This is exactly the opposite of what the grassroots Republicans want across the country,” Paul added. “It’s Why the grassroots Republicans are so angry with establishment Republicans. Republicans control the House and the Senate and are doing nothing to control the debt or spending.”
It dovetails with his focus in the debate. “The message I’m going to put forward tomorrow is that I’m the only fiscal conservative in the race,” he said.
Paul will also attend numerous fundraisers in his visit. The minimum contribution for the event Tuesday evening on the 10th floor at the Spire Condominiums in downtown Denver: $100.