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October 11, 2012

Paul says defense cuts ‘work in progress’ with Ryan

FRANKFORT — Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he has spoken with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan about the “inevitability” of defense cuts to balance the federal budget — “but it’s a work in progress.”

Paul, the son of Congressman Ron Paul and a tea party favorite, parts ways with many in his party on how to solve the budget deficit and bring down the federal debt. Paul agrees with Ryan, the leading Republican voice in the U.S. House on entitlement reforms, but he says Republicans need to come to grips with the need to cut military spending, too.

Ryan’s running mate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney, has said he will strengthen the military and if needed increase spending.

Paul was here to attend Thursday’s debate between Ryan and incumbent Democratic Vice President Joe Biden. He said he’s spent some time with Ryan and has talked to him about the need for military spending restraint.

“That’s a work in progress — for a lot of Republicans,” Paul said of those talks. “But I think it’s also an inevitability that we’ll have to look at military spending and I’m going to keep beating the drum on that and to keep us out of war if we can.”

Paul expected Ryan to do well against Biden.

“I have a lot of confidence in Paul Ryan,” he said. “He’s one of the brighter minds on Capitol Hill. He knows every detail of where the money is spent, how it’s spent, how we should fix it and so I think he’ll do a great job.”

Paul especially credits Ryan on proposals to rein in spending on such entitlement programs as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“I think he’s been bold enough to talk about entitlement reform and I think any elected official who isn’t willing to talk about entitlement reform really shouldn’t be in office, because entitlements are going to consume the entire budget within a decade and if we don’t reform them, there won’t be any money left for anything else,” Paul said.

Paul said he’s pleased with recent polling which showed Romney either narrowing the gap between himself and President Barack Obama to nearly a dead heat or in some polls a lead over Obama. But Paul said he’s not sure how much stock to put in polling which has been so volatile during this campaign.

“Certainly, there is a lot of momentum for us,” Paul said. “But what fascinates me is that one week it all goes in one direction and the next week it all goes in our (Romney’s) direction.

“But it’s certainly a good place to be right now with the momentum on our side.”

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

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Isaiah Caperton and Ryan Ratliff, both 12 years old, ride the Star Trooper on the midway at the Boyd County fair Tuesday. KEVIN GOLDY / THE INDEPENDENT

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