Senator Rand Paul became the first candidate to launch a direct attack on Hillary Clinton Sunday morning, releasing an ad excoriating her as “the worst of the Washington machine”. The ad claimed that the “Washington Machine is destroying the American dream”, and admonishes Hillary Clinton’s arrogance and corruption. The ad then takes a dramatic turn, claiming “it is time for a new leader and a new way” before launching into a list of policy proposals which Paul would enact as president, set to a clip of his recent announcement in Louisville, Kentucky.
This ad no doubt attempts to play to Paul’s electability argument, attempting to convince Republican Primary voters that he is the man who can defeat Hillary Clinton. The ad certainly hits Clinton hard and will no doubt hook Republican Primary voters in with the charges it levies against her in the first 25 seconds. Paul’s attempt to leap the primary field and go straight to a general election attack is a departure from the strategies employed by most of the candidates in the 2012 campaign, and is very much in the mold of the innovative campaign the Senator has run to this point.
Paul has also started a social media campaign titled “Liberty, Not Hillary”, with facebook profile and cover photos as well as a hash tag. Paul’s social media team has been very active since his launch, and this is a continuation of that activity. More importantly, however, it is an attempt by Paul to brand Hillary as an anti liberty candidate to a young generation which increasingly is growing more libertarian. Will it pay dividends should Rand face Hillary in November? It will be a fascinating question to watch the campaigns answer.