Paul wants government that ‘minds its own business’

Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, signs an autograph for a supporter after a rally for his presidential campaign at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday. Aaron Bolton/MPR News

(With MPR News intern Aaron Bolton)

Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul held the first of three Minnesota rallies Monday at the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

The Kentucky senator told the crowd that the federal government is too big and intrusive, and that he would change that if he’s elected.

"I kind of want a government that minds its own business," he said. "I want a government so small I can barely see it. I want a government that stays the hell out of my life."

Paul said the government should stop collecting cell phone data without a warrant and that no one should go to jail for using drugs.

He criticized Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a Democratic Socialist. Paul said Sanders' promises of free college and other government services echo the philosophy that led to the abuses of dictators such as Pol Pot and Stalin.

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"If anybody comes to you and says 'I'm going to give you this,' ask them where they're going to get it from," Paul said. "If they're going to give you free health care, who's going to give it to you? The physician? The nurse? The janitor at the hospital? Sombody's got to provide it, so you've got to take it from somebody. Just because you can't see them doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There is no free lunch."

Paul also criticized fellow Republican Marco Rubio, whom he says agrees with Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. Paul says the two want to use the military in the Middle East when experience shows U.S. intervention has made matters worse.

Paul also had rallies planned in Duluth and Rochester before a Twin Cities fundraiser.

On Tuesday he and other Republican candidates are set to debate in Milwaukee.