CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Kelley Paul says she'll use her background as a political consultant to provide behind-the-scenes support to husband Rand's 2016 Republican presidential bid.
In an interview at The Citadel on Thursday, Kelley Paul told The Associated Press that she doesn't plan to have a front office at campaign headquarters. Instead, the mother of three said she feels more comfortable working from home, intent on helping her husband with speechwriting and other ways to get his message out, something she's done since his 2010 senatorial bid.
"That's just been the natural give and take that we've had for years — when he writes something, he'll show it to me, and I'll give it some ideas and some suggestions," she said. "We enjoy kind of bouncing our work off each other a little bit like that. ... I don't want to have an official role in the campaign."
Reserved but politically savvy, Kelley Paul worked for a Republican consulting firm whose clients included another announced presidential candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, before she resigned more than a year ago.
She sat down with AP during her first solo campaign swing to early-voting South Carolina as part of the promotion of her recent book, "True and Constant Friends," about lessons learned from her Irish immigrant grandmother and a close-knit group of friends from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.
Rand Paul, a Kentucky senator, announced his candidacy last week. Saying she'll continue to campaign with and for her husband, Kelley Paul told AP that she was encouraged by the early response to the campaign.
"I feel like our announcement really did give the voters an idea not only of what Rand stands for but about what he's done in his last four years in the Senate and kind of generated the excitement and the interest that we want the voters to feel about Rand," she said.
Asked about Rand Paul's testiness in recent interviews with female reporters or on issues such as abortion, Kelley Paul dismissed any allegations of gender-bias as the product of partisan politics.
"I think this whole idea that there's some kind of gender problem with him, with some of these female interviewers, is sort of a phony construct, a false narrative that has been put out there, I think mostly on the left," she said. "Rand is the kind of person that looks at someone for their intellect, their talents, their abilities and what they bring to the job. He's the last person to ever make any kind of shallow judgment about someone based on their gender."
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP