Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had quite a testy exchange with CNBC’s John Harwood Tuesday.
Appearing on NPR’s On Point, Paul eventually told the substitute host, “Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me? I mean, that won’t make for much of an interview if I have to sit through, you know, reading after recitation of people calling me a racist” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JOHN HARWOOD, SUBSTITUTE HOST: What conclusion should people draw from the presence of that former shock jock Jack Hunter on your staff who co-authored a book with you, who was identified as “The Southern Avenger?”
SENATOR RAND PAUL (R-KENTUCKY): He's no longer on my staff.
HARWOOD: But you had a pretty strong association with him.
PAUL: Yeah, but the thing is if you read through a lot of his things, I think some of the things he wrote, or many of the things he wrote were stupid, and I don't agree with. They weren’t things that I was aware of or reasons why I hired him. I do think though that he was unfairly treated by the media, and he was put up as target practice for people to say he was a racist, and none of that’s true, and if you look at his writings, I think there are a lot of problems and a lot of disagreements and none of it do I support. But none of it was racist. And there was no evidence. He got along fine with everybody in the office, treated everyone fairly regardless of race or religion. And we have a very varied office and backgrounds. So I think it was just unfair.
But it’s also unfair to paint a broad brush and say that’s who I am when I should be judged by the things I’m doing. And I think there is no greater defender, truly, of minority rights, if you include minorities to be the color of your skin or the color of your ideology, than myself, because I will stand up there with the most progressive members of the caucus in the Senate and say, “You know what? Civil liberties are important, and they’re important particularly because of some of the egregious things that happened in America’s history."
HARWOOD: Well, let me read you something that The Economist, the political magazine, the British magazine wrote a few weeks ago and get you to react to it. “The only notable libertarian-leaning politicians to generate real excitement among conservative voters have risen to prominence through alliances with racist and nativist movements.”
PAUL: Don’t you have anything better, don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me? I mean, that won’t make for much of an interview if I have to sit through, you know, reading after recitation of people calling me a racist. I don’t accept all of that. I don’t really need to or spend the time going and talking about that. If want to talk about issues and what I stand for, I’m happy to, but I’m not going to really go through an interview reciting and responding to every yahoo in the world who wants to throw up a canard.
HARWOOD: But why shouldn’t, you know, if somebody sees the record of Jack Hunter, and…
PAUL: Well, why don’t we talk about Rand Paul? I’m the one doing the interview, and you can go ahead and beat up on an ex-employee of mine. But why don’t we talk about Rand Paul and what I’m trying to do to grow the party, and then we might have an intelligent discussion?
HARWOOD: Well, I am, but he is someone who wrote a book with you.
PAUL: Well you’re not. You think you want to dwell on something, that you want to bring up critical articles from people who don’t like me and don’t support any libertarian ideals. Why don’t we talk about what libertarian-Republicanism means, and what it would do for the Party? Let’s talk about some issues. Let’s talk about indefinite detention. Let’s talk about aid to Egypt. Let’s talk about repatriation of foreign capital so we can redouble our infrastructure which the President asked for last week. Those might be some pertinent topics other than doing ad hominem on me.
Indeed they might.
Unfortunately, Paul had better get used to this for the goal of every liberal media member the next three-plus years is to attack and thoroughly discredit him as a potential candidate for president.
We saw the press do that with great success in last year's campaign, and they've clearly begun the strategy already.
If only it weren't the case.
(HT Right Scoop)