Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wants Rand Paul to make a choice: Protest the Patriot Act either on the Senate floor or on the campaign trail.
He joined a chorus of Republican presidential hopefuls weighing in on the Kentucky Republican senator’s protest of the Patriot Act, key provisions of which lapsed Sunday.
Paul claimed credit for blocking parts of the renewal of the controversial law, and his protests included an 11-hour speech on the eve of the chamber’s Memorial Day break, as well as objections to several short-term extensions of the Act.
In response to a question about Paul, Huckabee said on Fox News Monday morning that 2016 contenders must “decide what they want to be when they grow up.”
“If you want to be a governor, be a governor. If you want to be a senator, be a senator,” Huckabee said. “If you want to be president, then let go of what you’re doing, because it’s a full time pursuit to run for the presidency.”
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Those in government positions owe a responsibility to the taxpayer, he continued.
“If you want a different job, then say I don’t want this one anymore. I’m bored with it,” he said. “But be honest about it and go out and give the taxpayers a break, and let them have someone on the job full time.”
Huckabee added in a follow-up question that he did not mean to “impugn his (Paul’s) motives” because “this is not something he just took up because it’s a political cause.”
Many of those running for president are out of office, though two of Paul’s Senate colleagues – Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas – are in the race, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is expected to announce a bid on Monday. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is running for the Democratic nomination. Several sitting governors – including Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker of Wisconsin – are considering joining the GOP field.
Unlike several other Republicans who have hammered Paul for blocking the Patriot Act renewal, Huckabee believes the original law went too far.
He said the original law was “hastily passed” in the wake of 9/11 without extensive debate. Public opinion has shifted now, he said.
“Fourteen years ago, we were worried about terrorists. Now we’re worried about our government,” Huckabee said, singling out controversies around the IRS and Justice Departments.
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