During a stop in Lexington Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told reporters being called a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nod "sounds unlucky."
"I think it's a little too early probably to be talking about things like that," Paul said. "My focus right now really is trying to figure out how we can get the discussion back toward how we create jobs in the country."
The senator did offer predictions, however, on the debt ceiling, Republican strategy in 2014, and government efforts to jumpstart the economy in Eastern Kentucky.
Paul told the crowd he expects the GOP is unlikely to receive much in the way of concessions during the next round of debt ceiling talks. Instead, he predicted Republicans will continue shining a spotlight on flaws in the Affordable Care Act in the hopes of shifting the balance of power in Congress in November.
Asked if he supports the federal and state initiatives aimed at revitalizing Eastern Kentucky, including President Obama’s “Promise Zone” designation and Gov. Beshear’s press to expand broadband, Paul said he would rather see programs like his Economic Freedom Zone legislation, which would lower taxes on underserved areas.
"I think that's better than a government stimulus where you send your money from Kentucky to Washington. Washington then decides 'Oh, you'd be good running a restaurant. Here's a $100,000 to open a restaurant.' It never works or it doesn't work nine times out of ten because the marketplace sorts that thing out, so I'd rather give the money back to businesses that are earning it," Paul said.
One area the senator was reluctant to wade into was the controversy surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has long been named alongside Paul on shortlists for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
Paul, who has locked horns with Christie in the past over Hurricane Sandy relief and domestic spending, declined to comment on the governor’s recent troubles and to what extent they could disqualify him from the national conversation.