- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is pitching himself on the 2016 presidential campaign trail as a Republican who can make inroads for the GOP among constituencies like younger Americans, is joining forces with a Virginia-based educational group that specializes in training and equipping young conservatives.

“I refuse to accept that our nation’s colleges will always remain bastions of left-wing extremism. I refuse to allow leftists to brainwash an entire generation of American students into hating our country and our free-market system,” Mr. Paul wrote in an email blasted out Tuesday on behalf of the Arlington-based Leadership Institute.

Mr. Paul goes on to write that he’s joining with the group “to help liberate our nation’s colleges and universities from the clutches of the left.”

The email provides a link to sign a petition in a “fight to save our students through a massive program of organization, training, and support.”

The educational group was founded in 1979 by President Morton C. Blackwell, a longtime conservative activist and a Republican National Committeeman from Virginia.

Mr. Blackwell said Tuesday that the email shouldn’t be read as any sort of endorsement, pointing out that other politicians such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is also running for president in 2016, have lent their names to like testimonials. He said that since the group is classified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, it’s also prevented from endorsing anyone even if it wanted to.

“My goal over the next several weeks is to find 100,000 conservatives who are sick and tired of the left’s hijack of our institutions of higher learning,” Mr. Paul writes. “I want to wave this petition in the faces of the leftist lunatics who have seized control of our nation’s great universities.”

“Conservatives shouldn’t surrender to the left,” he writes. “You and I shouldn’t leave this next generation of leaders to be brainwashed by America-hating socialists and Marxists. Conservatives must fight back. And that is exactly what the Leadership Institute and I will do.”

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