Rand Paul: GOP, "Needs To Be a Welcoming Party"

Kentucky senator's presidential aspirations in focus amid video showing him appearing to run from immigration activist.
7:26 | 08/06/14

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Transcript for Rand Paul: GOP, "Needs To Be a Welcoming Party"
Just seventeen months ago now until the 2016. Presidential caucuses in Iowa. And the would be candidates are beginning to pop in on the Hawkeye State. This week it's Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and -- a headline grabbing few days in the heartland. I'm Michelle brands and -- New York. But for a high profile senator with eyes on the White House all news is not necessarily. Good news. Paul -- been accused of running and not just for president. Critics say Paul literally ran away from what he's called a -- interview by two young immigration reform activist. Senator leading his colleague congressman speaking to defend the house Republicans vote to strip those young dreamers. A temporary protections from deportation. And -- more now from the heartland. Where we're joined live by ABC news senior Washington correspondent Jeff -- -- -- And Michelle what is senator Paul saying about what we've seen that video and suggestions that -- -- pulled him away so -- wouldn't have to answer those tough question. -- -- senator policies that is out here on a three day trip across Iowa and that moment happened in the first day. And he. It's saying that look he was just stepping away very innocently accidentally going to talk to some other I think it's pretty clear when you watch that video that. He did not want to become a part of this for the video. -- taped confrontation we see a lot of these things that town meetings across. -- -- country. Congress is obviously a recess this month. So it. It gives people a chance to confront the members of congress that's exactly what happened. Senator Paul obviously wanted to happen no part of it didn't wanna be exactly. Attached to what was going on there -- congressman Steve. And what we have heard similar answers that we heard from congressman king in that video had its stayed around to answer some of those questions. You know look I don't think you're going to hear a senator -- -- home necessarily -- felt since he came. Who's wanted to be allowed -- most forceful. Critics of immigration. In fact we -- quite the opposite when that senator. -- was visiting with voters earlier but today just outside when an -- -- Iowa. He was actually saying that the Republican Party needs to branch out it needs two work on immigration reform needs to become a bigger tent party. That's not exactly be a message that tell you -- heard him say there with congressman came and that morning meeting with -- -- conservative club. Let's listen in on his take on immigration matters. Party -- the Fourth Amendment. I think we grow our priority is to bring in a whole host of new people that are already Republicans they're also primarily -- Some of them -- independents as well. We broke the story we also have to become more diverse -- we need to -- -- warm welcoming party we can't be the party's. The right policy on immigration we can't be the party it appears not to like people -- -- us. Everybody in here was an immigrant hundred years ago probably your grandparents -- -- -- We need to be either party that welcomes -- our country needs to be done legally we can't be the party of hostility towards people. We don't necessarily look like us different background -- wealthy people who -- country and deal welcoming. Rumors. What do you think this message was targeted. Ward and did -- Paul ever get into specifics about immigration reform. Michelle senator Paul did not get in this. -- specifics about knowing about immigration reform but it's clear that we are seeing two strains of thought here in the Republican Party on immigration. We see not much action in Washington united talk so many times. -- -- -- on Capitol Hill talking about the inaction on immigration walked out in the country Republicans know that they need to broaden the base of their party. So we have seen senator appalled no -- not many other Republicans have gone he said tried to reach out to African American voters he's talked about the need for immigration reform. But -- he said there were no specifics about where this all becomes so much more difficult. But that's why -- up. Large prospective field of Republican candidates are out talking about the need for why it's necessary go to party. The hard part is how does -- get done while a big wing of the party does not want to. Do anything at all. And those potential voters getting another. Sort of view of senator policy discussed the issue nearest to his heart privacy and what it could all mean in 2016 let's -- -- -- listen. -- -- -- -- -- -- To a person almost everyone believes that the government should look at their records should look at -- -- -- should listen -- your phone calls. It was a party of privacy you'll -- when a whole new area and the Democrats frankly for the president Hillary Clinton. Haven't been very good of these issues. Now is -- the senator conceded that Republicans could not win on this issue alone but -- you think it could move. The needle with. Young voters. Michelle I do think it could move the -- I mean we are seeing senator. Paul going into audiences like in Berkeley California for example he gave a speech they're not long ago. On privacy. It's hard to imagine another Republican potential presidential candidate being welcome with open arms that are but. Senator -- is tapping into a couple different things -- one is his old network. But his father sort of -- that former congressman Ron Paul ran for president three times unsuccessfully. But has a following and Rand Paul is going after this sort of new. Libertarian strain or renewed libertarian strain in the Republican Party. And he really is attracting a young audience largely through privacy concerns is really one of the only Republicans out there are talking about this so. I think he's on to something when he says they can grow the party in that respect. Libertarians are generally independent voters and they are. People who we talked to -- were very interested in this platform. Now there's also a pivotal senate race unfolding right now an Iowa Democrat. Tim -- set to retire this year -- all -- out stumping for the Republican hoping. To take his seat. Mean that's right the Republican Party only need six seats to win control of the senate. And they believe that one of those seats could come from here in Iowa. Tom Harkin is retiring after no more than three decades in Washington. And there is -- a Republican candidate named a Jolie -- she's a state senator she's really become one of the more impressive more talked about Republican candidates. In the country. If senator -- -- has been out campaigning for her others have been as well and they believe if they can win this seat that gives them. -- a leg up certainly you know reaching that magic number of six to win the majority in the senate come November. ABC's -- felony on the road in Iowa thanks so much for joining us. And of course you can keep up with all the latest on this never ending campaign season in real time by downloading the ABC news happened star in that story. For exclusive updates on the -- for now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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