He’s not officially running for president yet, but that’s not stopping Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul from taking a few shots at his presumptive competition in the Republican primary.
The latest target: former presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And as he’s done with other potential rivals, Paul argued that Romney simply can’t win.
In an interview with Fox News Radio Monday, Paul said that Romney was “a good person” and “a great businessman,” but politically speaking he argued he’s “yesterday’s news.”
“He’s tried twice — I don’t really think that there is a third time out there,” he said. “I think he did a lot of things right, but in the end you got to have a bigger constituency, you got to get new people, you got to attract new people to win and I think it’s time that probably the party is going to be looking for something fresh and new.”
Paul has also taken aim at other potential presidential candidates, using similarly pragmatic language.
• In December, he argued on Fox News that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was out of practice. “He’s been out of this for a while,” he said. “So maybe he needs to get back in and practice up a bit.”
• In November, he argued on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had the wrong attitude. “I think this sort of bully demeanor may go over well in certain places,” he said, adding that he learned to be more polite growing up in the South.
In a more indirect way, Paul has also criticized his opponents by arguing that they are out of step with public opinion polls.
When criticizing Sen. Marco Rubio’s support for continuing the Cuban embargo, Paul cited an NPR poll that showed the majority of Cuban Americans back normalizing relations with the country. And in a midsummer back-and-forth with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, he noted that polls showed that most Americans are opposed to sending troops back to Iraq—a position Perry has supported.
Paul’s hardly the only one taking shots. Rubio’s fired at him over Cuba, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has criticized Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But his pragmatic focus is more unusual.