Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this morning that he was exaggerating when he said that his opponents in the Patriot Act debate "secretly want an attack" on the homeland. 

"People here in town think I'm making a huge mistake. Some of them I think secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me," Paul said on the Senate floor Sunday night.

Bill Hemmer asked on "America's Newsroom" whether Paul really meant that. 

"Sometimes in the heat of battle, hyperbole can get the better of anyone and that may be the problem there. The point I was trying to make is that people do use fear to try to get us to give up our liberty. This was the whole thing that Benjamin Franklin debated. Whether or not we should trade our liberty for security and sometimes get neither," said Paul.

He emphasized that the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records has not prevented a terror attack.

Hemmer asked about critics who have argued that Paul cannot win the Republican nomination with some of his arguments on ISIS and the NSA. 

Critics have slammed Paul in recent days for sounding like a Democrat when it comes to foreign policy and national security. 

Paul said that may be the case among "Beltway pundits," but not when he goes out and talks to Americans. 

"Over 80 percent of people under 40 think the government has gone too far in collecting our records all the time. Well over 50 percent of Republicans believe this. ... The truth of the matter is the American people think the government shouldn't be collecting their records indiscriminately. I'm going to continue to champion privacy. I would do it whether it was popular or not because I pledged an oath to defend the Constitution. But I think the American people are actually with me," said Paul.

The National Security Agency's ability to collect the phone records of millions of Americans in bulk expired late Sunday after the Senate failed to strike a deal before the midnight deadline.

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