- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said on social media Tuesday that he has managed to drive Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky out of the 2016 presidential contest.

“Prediction: Rand Paul has been driven out of the race by my statements about him— he will announce soon. 1%!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

“I hope when Rand Paul gets out of the race—he is at 1%—his supporters come over to me. I will do a much better job for them,” Mr. Trump said in another tweet.

Mr. Paul is currently tenth in the latest Real Clear Politics average on the GOP field, at 2.4 percent support.

“You know, it’s sort of silly season anytime Donald Trump opens his mouth,” Mr. Paul said on CNN when presented with the prediction. “But I would say something that’s very important for Republicans is that he’s not a real conservative.”

No real conservative, Mr. Paul said, would support a single-payer health care system, raising taxes, President Obama’s stimulus package, or the taking of certain private property through eminent domain.

“I think once the Tea Party and conservatives wake up and say you know what? This guy really is a manipulator and the consummate insider who uses government for his own personal benefit — I think when people realize that, you’re going to see a great shift away from him,” Mr. Paul said.

Mr. Trump has recently been mixing it up with Mr. Paul, among other GOP rivals. The billionaire businessman said at the second GOP debate earlier this month that he’s never attacked Mr. Paul on his “look,” “and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

Asked Monday on CNN what he was thinking as Mr. Trump was going after him, Mr. Paul said, “I’m thinking, how did we get the race for the most important office in the free world to sink to such depths, and how could anyone in my party think that this clown is fit to be president?”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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