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Rand Paul not waiting for 2016 to take on Hillary Clinton

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, isn't waiting until the 2016 election to formally kick off to start tearing into Hillary Clinton, the most prominent face among Democrats who might seek the nomination.

Referencing a 2008 primary ad in which Clinton suggested then-candidate Barack Obama will not prepared to handle a major overnight crisis as president, Paul suggested the former secretary of state had proven herself incapable of doing so either.

In new book, Hillary Clinton defends Benghazi response 02:01

"I think she had a 3 a.m. moment. She didn't answer the phone, and I think it absolutely should preclude her from being [president]," he said at the California Republican convention, where he was speaking Saturday, according to the L.A. Times. Paul had just described Clinton's actions in the lead up to the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, which Paul offered as proof of her failure.

Paul also lit into President Obama, an unsurprising choice of target given the president's low approval ratings which threatens to drag down Democrats during the midterm elections.

The Kentucky Republican pointed to the Affordable Care Act and Mr. Obama's initial plans to take unilateral action on immigration (which was ultimately delayed until after the November elections) to argue that he was running roughshod over the Constitution.

"It is a terrible tragedy, it is a danger to us as a country, and we need to do everything we can to stop him from abusing our laws," Paul said. Later, he added, "We have a president who basically has created a lawless atmosphere in Washington."

Rand Paul pushes tea party to have more "inclusive" message 01:07

Though the midterm elections are less than two months away, Paul did not use the speech to fire up California Republicans about this year's candidates. Instead he focused mostly on laying out his own priorities for the GOP.

"When our party looks like America -- with earrings and without earrings, with ponytails and without ponytails, with tattoos and without tattoos -- when we look like the rest of America -- white, black, brown -- we're going to win again," Paul said as he argued that his party needs to expand its appeal to win in places like California again after decades of losing. "We've got to go out and we've got to broaden our party, and when we do, we'll be a national party again. We will win again."

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