“People of all backgrounds yearn for leaders who believe in what they say and will stand strong for their convictions,” said Jesse Benton, who managed Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and is now serving as campaign manager for Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 re-election race. “Senator Paul is one of those leaders, and the list of others is short.”

While the issue Paul chose — drones and, specifically, the possibility of strikes against American citizens in the U.S. — isn’t a high-profile one, it became clear as the Kentucky Republican talked (and talked) that he was creating a major moment for a party that hasn’t had very many of those since Nov. 6, 2012.

“It was one of the first examples in a long time of messaging that made the base feel like we had control of the day,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican strategist. “Rand Paul’s stock price rose sharply today, and being the guy who set Obama on his heels — even for a day — will pay dividends for Paul in the short term, at least.”