Tea Party taps Rand Paul for State of the Union response

Updated
Tea Party favorite, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
Tea Party favorite, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
Alex Brandon/AP

Once hailed as the “crown prince of the Tea Party,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is now the “savior” to the Republican establishment. And though Rubio will be speaking for Republicans in their rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, the Tea Partiers–recently cast off by mainline conservatives–are offering up their own counter to the GOP’s counter-statement.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will be following up Rubio with a likely take-down of Obama’s speech on behalf of the Tea Party. Unsurprisingly, both Paul and Rubio are already considered contenders to enter the 2016 presidential race.

“Americans are fed up with Washington politics that fail to address America’s fiscal woes,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a statement. “We are excited that Sen. Paul, a conservative leader and strong voice for the Tea Party movement, will be offering our perspective on the State of the Union.”

Paul, son of the retired Texas congressman and failed presidential candidate Ron Paul, is a rare breed within his party in his embrace of the growing libertarian movement spurred by his father.

And though it’s not the first time that Tea Party conservatives have splintered off from the party establishment with a separate response to the president’s address, the dueling counter-arguments come in the midst of a civil war within the GOP. This week, right-wing factions have railed against Karl Rove for aiming to uproot extremists from within the Republican Party.

Last year, failed presidential candidate Herman Cain was tapped by the Tea Party for the gig, following up Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann who delivered the rebuttal the year prior.

Despite the public fallout within the GOP, the Tea Party’s Kremer voiced a front of union between the factions, melded together by Rubio’s Tea Party roots.

“We are happy to see that the Republicans have selected Tea Party conservative Sen. Marco Rubio to deliver their response,” she said, lauding the Florida Republican. “Both Sen. Rubio and Sen. Paul will articulate pro-growth messages that will resonate with the American people.”

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Tea Party taps Rand Paul for State of the Union response

Updated