Rand Paul Defends ’Unborn’ in Courting Evangelicals
Describing a nation "in a full-blown spiritual crisis," Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Friday vowed to fight against abortion for the rest of his political career, joining a parade of ambitious Republicans courting religious conservatives as the early jockeying for the next presidential contest intensifies.
"What America needs is a revival," Paul declared while addressing the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Paul, a libertarian favorite who often downplays the Republican Party’s focus on social issues, plunged into an aggressive defense of "unborn children."
"I believe that no nation, no civilization, can long endure that doesn’t respect life from those that are not yet born to life’s last breath," he said. "I will stand up for unborn children as long as I’m privileged to be in office."
The tea party favorite joined a packed agenda Friday that also includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan; and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Each is weighing a 2016 presidential run.
This week’s conference highlights the balancing act leading Republicans face as they work to bridge internal divisions and improve the Republican Party’s image. While religious conservatives continue to wield influence in the GOP, just last year the Republican National Committee released an exhaustive report calling on Republicans to adopt an "inclusive and welcoming" tone on divisive social issues.
But like Paul, Santorum aggressively endorsed conservative social priorities. The former Pennsylvania senator said that Republicans aren’t fighting hard enough to protect "the most basic institution that holds the family together - that’s the institution of marriage."