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Rand Paul Follows Family Tradition in Going After Jeb Bush

December 2, 2014 - 6:00pm

Most eyes have been focused on 2016 possibly shaping up as a rematch from 1992 with a Clinton taking on a Bush in the presidential race. But there could also be a dynastic rematch brewing from the 1988 presidential race when then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, the Republican nominee, battled U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was the Libertarian presidential candidate.

Both Bush and Paul have sons contemplating running for the Republican presidential nomination and they are starting to clash. This week, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took aim at former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., as both Republicans consider running for their partys presidential nomination in 2016.

Paul appeared with Megyn Kelly on Fox News on Tuesday and was asked about Bushs comments on Monday that Republican presidential candidates should not go too far out to the right to win the GOP nomination in order to be better positioned for the general election.

"I think your first mistake is when you talk about conservatives in the third person," Paul told Kelly. "If you don't consider that it's a 'we' rather than 'them,' you really miss what's going on in the Republican Party. We are a conservative party. As a conservative, I can't understand really even referring to conservatives in the third person."

Pauls shot is just the latest volley from his family against the Bushes. While both the Pauls and the Bushes have bases in Texas, they have both expanded over the years. During his 1988 presidential bid, Ron Paul fired away at George Bush on a number of fronts, from the drug war to the fiscal policies of the Reagan administration. Paul left the GOP in early 1987 and took almost one-half of 1 percent as the Libertarian nominee in 1988.

In 1992, when Pat Buchanan challenged Bush in the Republican primaries, Ron Paul supported the conservative columnist. After being returned to the U.S. House in 1996, Paul continued to needle the Bushes, often opposing George W. Bush on fiscal issues and foreign policy. While he did not run against Bush in 2004, Paul slammed his administration during his bids for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.

A CNN/ORC poll released this week shows Jeb Bush starts out the Republican presidential nomination fight with a slight lead if former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., does not run again and has Rand Paul as a factor in the primaries.

Romney leads the pack with 20 percent followed by Dr. Ben Carson with 10 percent and Bush with 9 percent. Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., takes 8 percent followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., with 7 percent. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are tied with 6 percent. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., are knotted up with 5 percent each. Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, takes 4 percent while U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pulls 3 percent. Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., take 2 percent each, while two governors -- Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mike Pence of Indiana -- get 1 percent each. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who announced on Tuesday he will not run for president in 2016, takes less than 1 percent.

But when Romney is left out of the mix, Bush moves to the head of the pack. Bush takes 14 percent in that scenario followed by Carson with 11 percent and Huckabee with 10 percent. Christie and Ryan tie with 9 percent followed by Paul with 8 percent and Cruz with 7 percent. Perry and Walker get 5 percent each and Kasich and Rubio take 3 percent each. Santorum gets 2 percent, Jindal and Pence still pull 1 percent each and Portman lags again with less than 1 percent.

The poll of 510 Republicans was taken from Nov. 21-23 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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