NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - Kentucky Senator Rand Paul answered some tough questions in an exclusive interview with FOX19. The biggest one was if he'll run for president in 2012.
The Senator was in town Thursday night speaking at the Campbell County Tea Party and plugging his new book, "The Tea Party Goes To Washington."
Paul said any plans for a Presidential run, at this point, are purely speculative. That's because he's not sure yet what his father, Congressman Ron Paul's, plans are for the next presidential race.
"There are a lot of people you know, excited about whether or not my dad will run," Paul said. "And that's why it's sort of hard to say anything until we know whether he's going to run or not, if he chooses not to run. I think I want to participate in some way. I want the Tea Party to have some influence. I want there to be a seat at the table for the Tea Party and hopefully help determine who the nominee is."
Paul said right now, he is focusing on getting out there and hearing what's on people's minds and getting the budget under control.
FOX19's Stefano DiPietrantonio asked Paul about the economy, to his proposed budget cuts and even his hair.
Paul survived a trip to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Stewart called Paul a man who talks the talk and walks the walk.
"I give you kudos sir for being the walkiest of the talkers," the host commended Paul.
"I think I took that as a compliment," Paul laughed. "What we've tried very hard to do is put numbers out there."
Numbers like $500 billion in proposed spending cuts, which led to question one, when Paul was asked if he fells his Republican colleagues are reluctant to get on-board with the spending cuts.
"Well, I think ultimately if you want to balance the budget, you have to look at every segment of the budget," Paul said. "Our 500 billion looks at non-military, military and entitlements and unless you look at the whole length, breadth and width of the budget you can't balance it. Some Republicans are still hesitant to say that there's any savings to be found in the military part, but if you don't you can't balance the budget because there's not enough money in the non-military part of it."
For question two, Paul was asked how he felt about the so-called shared sacrifices among the wealthy and lower income earners, when it comes to shouldering the tax burden.
"As far as taxation, the income tax affects the higher income much more than the lower income," Paul said. "47-percent of Americans don't pay any income tax, so the upper income is paying most of the taxes. Those make 70-thousand and above, pay 96-percent of the income tax."
And finally, question number three - what is the biggest problem facing the Bluegrass State and how does he plan to fix it?
"It's the debt because even if you want something like a road built or a bridge built, the reason we're struggling with having money to pay for the roads or the bridges is because of the debt," Paul said. "So the number one problem's the debt."
Stefano threw-in a last-second zinger. Superstition says, you can tell a politician's true slant, by which side he parts his hair on, the right or the left. Hard to tell though, on this Senator's tousled top.
"You've got pretty curly hair there," Stefano said. "What do you say to that?
"It's just a mess," Paul laughed. "That's all I can say, thanks."
He was a good sport. As you recall in the last election, there was all sorts of talk about candidates hair not being "Presidential" enough.
So will Paul run or won't he run. There sure were a lot of Tea Party folks heard urging him to go for it.