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On The Trail: Rand Paul pitches smaller government, constitutional rights at New Hampshire event

Kentucky senator says labeling genetically modified foods would be overregulation

♦By Patrick Scanlan, contributor

on-the-trail-new-hampshireSALEM, New Hampshire (CFP) — Before an enthusiastic crowd of about 75 voters, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took his GOP presidential campaign to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, offering up his critique of a government that he says has become too large, spends too much money and is too oppressive toward its citizens.

In a September 25 town hall event organized by the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce, Paul expressed his wish that “our government should be minding their own business more,” citing examples of NSA spying, welfare programs, and Planned Parenthood funding.

Rand Paul in Salem, New Hampshire

Rand Paul in Salem, New Hampshire

He did not, however, place the blame solely on Democrats, saying these problems aren’t solely the fault of one party. He said the first priority of the national government should be defense, while most other programs, especially social programs, should be left up to state governments to design and implement.

Paul also said the Republican Party can attract younger voters by advocating strict protection of constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights. In that regard, he highlighted his support for the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, touching on another issue important to conservative voters.

Paul also answered questions from attendees at the event, who hailed from New Hampshire as well as neighboring Massachusetts.

One question concerned dealing with undocumented immigrants, to which Paul responded by saying that “immigrants who came to the U.S. are by and large good people, but we must secure the border.”

A woman representing group supporting labeling of genetically modified foods asked Paul how he would vote on current legislation imposing such labeling, an issue important to many New Hampshire residents who are part of local and sustainable food movements. He responded that if the movement is popular, then labeling should be left up to the marketplace because he views this, and other similar issues, as overregulation.

When asked about Iran, Paul reiterated that negotiations and open communication are essential to maintaining an effective relationship with Iran. He said that sanctions have gone a long way to pushing Iran in the right direction, but he still does not trust the Tehran regime.

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