Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2014

Rand Paul Launches Ad Blitz Against Foreign Aid

Rand Paul Launches Ad Blitz Against Foreign Aid

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:36 pm | Sen. Rand Paul is taking his quest to cut off U.S. foreign aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan to the voters.

The Kentucky Republican’s political action committee, RANDPAC, criticizes Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) for opposing his efforts to block U.S. aid to the three countries until certain conditions are met. Both Democrats are favored to defeat their Republican challengers Nov. 6.

“Bill Nelson works with Barack Obama to send billions of our taxpayer dollars to countries where radicals storm our embassies, burn our flag and kill our diplomats. It’s time to bring our taxpayer dollars home,” the Florida version of the ad says. “It’s time to send bill Nelson home, too.”

The two 60-second ads are the outgrowth of a late-night Senate floor vote held just before Senators departed in September for campaign season. Senators rejected Paul’s measure, 10-81.

“Unfortunately, Sens. Bill Nelson and Joe Manchin have stood with President Obama and against the American taxpayer to continue sending foreign aid to these very countries. I recently offered an amendment to strip their aid, an amendment that was strongly opposed by Sens. Nelson and Manchin,” Paul said.

Paul picked the two states to run the ads because of the positions the Republican challengers have taken on foreign aid. Rep. Connie Mack IV (Fla.) is challenging Nelson, while businessman John Raese is running against Manchin.

“Connie Mack and John Raese will instead stand up for America taxpayers and values,” Paul said. “They will stand with me in the fight to end this dangerous and abusive foreign aid. I thank them for their leadership and plan to do everything I can to help them win in November.”

Both ad buys are in the six figures, according to a statement from RANDPAC. The group says it will target specific media markets in Florida and that a very similar message will go statewide in West Virginia.

Roll Call rates the West Virginia race Safe Democratic, making it reasonable to suspect that Paul’s statewide ad buy there is more about spreading his message than about this particular race.

The Florida race is somewhat closer, but it also leans in favor of the Democratic incumbent.

Update:

Manchin responded by announcing a press conference call at 4 p.m. today in which he and “a leading Republican colleague – who is an authority on foreign affairs” will talk about what Manchin’s campaign described as the “absolute falsehoods that Senator Rand Paul is broadcasting about Senator Manchin’s record on national security.”

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