Sen. Rand Paul urged the thousands that turned out for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to imagine electing a "friend of liberty" to the White House who will defend the Constitution and push back against a federal government that is trampling over their individual rights.
Mr. Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender, suggested that he might fit the bill, and said it will take a "national revival of liberty" to restore the constitutional rights that have have been under assault by the Obama administration.
"You may think I am talking about electing a Republican. I am not," Mr. Paul said. "I am talking about electing lovers of liberty. It isn't good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men and women of principle, and conviction and action that will lead us back to greatness."
The remarks sparked a round of applause from libertarian-leaning crowd, which is champing at the bit for Mr. Paul to follow in the footsteps of his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, by running for the White House.
"There is a great battle going on," Mr. Paul told the crowd. "It is for the heart and soul of America. The Fourth Amendment is equally important as the Second Amendment and conservatives cannot forget this."
The roughly 20-minute address touched on some of the same themes that the Kentucky Republican raised in his 2013 CPAC speech, when he said the "GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered."
Mr. Paul raised his national profile almost exactly a year ago when he led a filibuster against the nomination of John O. Brennan as CIA director, threatening to block the confirmation until the Obama administration clarified that it will not use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil.
More recently, he filed a class-action lawsuit to halt the National Security Agency's phone records collection program.
"Mr. President, we will not let you run roughshod over our rights," Mr. Paul said Friday. "We will challenge you in the courts, we will battle you at the ballot box. Mr. President, we will not let you shred our Constitution.
"It is decidedly not a time for the faint of heart," he said. "It is a time for boldness and action. The time is now. Stand with me, let us stand together for liberty."
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