In my Weekend Interview with Rand Paul last Saturday, the new Senator-elect from Kentucky appeared to soften his fervent opposition during the campaign to earmarks and pork-barrel spending. I reported the shift, while noting his continued distaste for earmarks as a symbol of runaway spending and his eagerness to change the way such spending gets appropriated.His comments have since attracted attention and criticism, and his aides now say that I misunderstood his comments. I stand by the story as written, but in the interest of full disclosure we are posting the full transcript of the relevant section of the interview below. Readers can draw their own conclusions.Question: What if someone comes to you and says here's an earmark, mind turning a blind eye to this?Mr. Paul: The earmarks are a really small percentage of the budget but I think they symbolize a lot of the waste and I think we shouldn't do it. I tell people and told people throughout the primaries as well as the general election that I will advocate for Kentucky's interests. There are money that will be spent in Kentucky. But I will advocate in the committee process. And I think that's the way it should be done. Roads, highways, bridges, things that we need as far as infrastructure, let's go through the committee process, find out, when was this bridge last repaired? How much of a problem is it? Are there fatalities on this road that's not wide enough? Let's use objective evidence to figure out, you know, where the money should be spent. But not put it on in the dead of night, have some clerk in your office stick it on because you're powerful and you stick it on, and you attach your name to it.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
From Matthew Kaminski of The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 10: