Sen. Rand Paul offers everything but Lamar Alexander endorsement - WKRN News 2

Sen. Rand Paul offers everything but Lamar Alexander endorsement

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Sen. Rand Paul Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Lamar Alexander Sen. Lamar Alexander
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

With lots of chatter about a potential Republican primary challenger, Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander received everything but an endorsement Monday from Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

It came just prior to a roundtable the two U.S. senators hosted at Nashville's KIPP Academy, one of Nashville' most successful charter schools.

While calling it "a fun parlor game that the media gets involved with," Rand took it one step further by saying, "I am very supportive of Sen. Alexander. He and I have worked together on a lot of issues. I am very complimentary of how he has been a great senator for the state of Tennessee."

The Senator, who was a Bowling Green, Kentucky physician before being elected, went on to say he was "here for education, not an endorsement," but it led to his strongest words of support.

"I hope he does not get an opponent. I really do. I hope he wins re-election, but I don't want to get trapped into all these political games.  That is not why I am really here," Rand told a gathering of reporters.

Alexander was appreciative, but echoed that Rand's visit was not about an endorsement.

"We are not here to endorse each other," said Alexander. "What I try to do is earn the respect of my colleagues, and Rand Paul has certainly earned my respect for the way he speaks out on education, and I hope I can earn his [respect]."

Alexander has often drawn the ire of more conservative Republicans in Tennessee, particularly with his recent vote on an immigration reform package that passed the U.S. Senate.

Rand's visit was the second cross border visit in two days to Middle Tennessee.

Late Sunday, he spoke at a fundraiser for Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson where called for a more inclusive Republican Party that should attract more blacks, Latinos, women and those with or without tattoos or ponytails.

The Kentucky senator also said Sunday that while he is focused on building the party, he would make a decision about running for president within a year.

During the nearly hour long roundtable, the two Senators met with students, parents and administrators at KIPP Academy.

Sen. Paul said he plans to take back what he learned to Kentucky, which does not have charter school laws like Tennessee.

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