Bill Clinton defended the donations last month, asserting that the money had enabled the philanthropic organization to do “a lot more good than harm,” adding, “I’m going to tell you who gave us money and you can make up your mind after that.”
The Clinton Foundation declined to comment on Paul’s remarks today.
Paul, who officially announced his White House bid on Tuesday in Kentucky and made the Granite State the first stop on his kickoff campaign tour, said the state will be an important focus of his presidential campaign strategy and that its “leave me alone” attitude makes him a strong fit as a candidate here. (The state motto is “Live free or die”).
“New Hampshire is incredibly important to me, we will try very hard, we are going to do everything to win in New Hampshire,” he said, adding, “I think we do need to win in New Hampshire.”
“When Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, it became part of the platform that we were opposed to the Department of Education, I still am,” the 52-year-old physician said. “I think it ought to go back to the states.”
Paul went on to explain that there has long been a “deep philosophical divide” in the GOP when it comes to education and that he expects it to be a distinguishing factor in the Republican nominating contest, taking indirect aim at Jeb Bush, one of his most formidable likely opponents, by criticizing the education policies of his brother, President George W. Bush.
“Under a Republican administration, we doubled the size of the Department of Education and we now have warped into ‘No Child Left Behind’ and now ‘Common Core,’” Paul said. “This is a deep philosophical divide in the party and what you’ll see, and what I am seeing as I go about the country [is a] spontaneous movement that is unhappy about Washington telling them what kind of curriculum they can have in New Hampshire and I’m going to continue to fight it.”
Asked about Arkansas’ religious liberty law, Paul replied “it’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t have religious liberties.”
The main event of Paul’s first full day as a candidate was a rally in Milford, a small town outside Manchester, where he drew wild cheers from the crowd.
“I come to New Hampshire to announce that I will fight for your right to be left alone,” he declared.