McConnell is among a small group of Republicans who have twice endorsed Paul's budget plan, which would balance the budget in five years and eliminate four federal agencies, including the energy and education departments. He's also among two dozen Senate Republicans who've signed on to Paul's proposal to require an audit of the Federal Reserve — a measure the freshman's father repeatedly sought.
"We don't agree on every issue but we agree on a lot of issues," McConnell said.
Last August, McConnell and Paul both appeared at a tea-party-organized rally at the Kentucky state capitol in Frankfort to protest President Obama's health-care law. The next month, McConnell hired Paul's 2010 general election campaign manager — Jesse Benton — to head his re-election effort. Before accepting the position, Benton said in a telephone interview, he discussed the offer with Paul, who encouraged him to join McConnell's camp.
Paul said in an interview that he's attended fundraising dinners with McConnell in their state and that the Senate minority leader is "well received" by the party faithful.
"His message is one of the standard things that we all seem to agree on, which is that we want a smaller government and not taxing you and not over regulating you," he said.
Paul also said he "really appreciated" McConnell's show of support for his filibuster.
"By the time you've been out there nine, 10, 11 hours, you're starting to feel it, and all the senators coming forward, particularly Senator McConnell from the same state, was something that was very nice," he said.
Through March 11, 607,500 messages had been posted with the #standwithrand hashtag, according to Topsy, a social media analysis company.
McConnell and Paul began their partnership soon after the 2010 primary ended. McConnell helped organize a rally in Frankfort to unify the party and later sent his aides from Washington to work on Paul's general election campaign while also raising money for it.