Rand Paul takes veiled swipe at Jeb Bush over Common Core

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is considering a presidential bid in 2016.

Story highlights

  • Sen. Rand Paul is strongly opposed to Common Core
  • He thinks Republicans who support it in 2016 will fail in the primaries
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been a staunch advocate
  • Common Core is a set of national standards for math and English
Sen. Rand Paul appears to be warning former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and other potential 2016 candidates that support for Common Core would be a losing position in the GOP presidential contest.
"If there's a Republican candidate out there -- let's just say there's a hypothetical one that's for Common Core. I'm saying that that hypothetical candidate that's for Common Core probably doesn't have much chance of winning in a Republican primary," the Kentucky Republican told Breitbart.com.
His comments, published Monday, come from an interview last week while Paul was in North Carolina campaigning for Senate hopeful Thom Tillis and Rep. Walter Jones.
Paul didn't mention Bush or any other potential 2016 candidate by name, but the former Florida governor has been a vocal backer of Common Core, a set of national education standards for English and math.
"The danger of having one central governmental authority deciding curriculum is, what if we get some people who decide we really need to treat Karl Marx fairly, we need to make sure he gets a good writeup in the history, and Adam Smith, oh gosh, he was terrible," Paul said. "You can see how once it's nationalized, one person can insert a bias into the curriculum, and it goes everywhere, and then you have to fight it."
While conservatives accuse the program of interfering with local government control, the standards were developed by the bipartisan National Governors Association, state governments and nonprofit groups.
But if states want a share of President Barack Obama's Race to the Top education grants, one of the ways to get it is by adopting Common Core. In that sense, the government created incentives for states to embrace the standards.
Bush, who was campaigning for Tillis in North Carolina the week before Paul was there, reiterated his support for Common Core, according to The New York Times. Tillis did not express the same support and attacked the Department of Education.
Bush says the standards help prepare students for college and the workforce. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has also offered support for Common Core, though he created a panel to review and improve the program's implementation in the Garden State.
Republican Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rick Perry of Texas have been fiercely opposed. Jindal sued the Obama administration over the issue this year and announced plans to take Louisiana out of the program, while Texas was one of five states that didn't adopt the standards at all.
In the Senate, Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida are two potential presidential candidates who have also been highly critical of Common Core.
Paul has previously weighed in on his disdain for the program, saying in August that he believes education standards "should be developed locally" and reiterating his wish to eliminate the Department of Education.
"The kids are tested to death, I think, and not necessarily any smarter," he said at a Republican event in Urbandale, Iowa. "Is testing good? Yes, but I would let local people figure that out."
"I also think we make a mistake as Republicans blaming teachers for everything, you know, because frankly some of the fault ... we need to look in the mirror; it's parents' fault as well," he continued.