A National Defense University spokesman confirms that Sen. Rand Paul will deliver an address at the National War College in mid-October but that it is 'closed and off-the-record.' The Kentucky Republican recently told two reporters they would be welcome to attend his foreign policy speech there. (Mandel Ngan / AFP)
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WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul’s self-described “big foreign policy speech” will be held in mid-October here at the National Defense University — but the public won’t be able to see it.
The Kentucky Republican, expected to be a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, told Defense News during a brief July 8 interview that “we have a big speech coming up on foreign policy” at the National War College here at the National Defense University “this fall.”
Presidential candidates almost always give such a speech as they mull a run for the White House. As Mackenzie Eaglen of the Republican-tied American Enterprise Institute think tank put it, a foreign policy speech is a “check-the-box” exercise for possible GOP candidates.
“Sen. Paul is currently scheduled to come speak to our students in mid-October,” Cmdr. Elton Parker, a National Defense University spokesman, told CongressWatch.
Whether Paul’s “big” speech will be public and open to the media is a bit murky.
The current Republican presidential frontrunner told two reporters last week of the War College speech: “Y’all are welcome to come.”
But Parker said the foreign policy address will be off-the-record.
“This speaking engagement is part of our established Strategic Leadership Forum in the academic curriculum, and as such is considered a private conversation only with the students, is off-the-record, operates under Chatham House Rule criteria, and is not open to the media or any other outsider observers,” Parker said.
Asked by CongressWatch about Paul’s invitation, Parker held firm that the general public will be walled off from Paul’s “big” speech.
“No need to double-check,” Parker wrote in a Monday email. “It is closed and off-the-record.” ■