Despite earlier indications that Rand Paul would speak at the St. John Catholic Church Picnic in Paducah on Saturday, and organizers once believing that Paul had made a firm commitment, Paul opted out of the political speeches portion of the annual event, citing a scheduling conflict.
Under the headline, "Paul’s absence felt at picnic," the Paducah Sun's Bill Bartleman reports that the Republican U.S. Senate candidate did visit the picnic earlier in the day, as well as a Republican luncheon. Bartleman reports that Paul's campaign made the original commiment when it thought the speeches were at 1pm and not 4pm. The Paul campaign sent an e-mail to picnic organizers citing the conflict:
“Unfortunately, Dr. Paul has a meeting that he cannot get out of which would require him to be on the road at 4:00.”
But the meeting remains a mystery:
"Paul ... continued to dodge questions about the scheduling conflict. He would not comment on one report that he was traveling to a meeting sponsored by the Washington-based National Republican Senatorial Committee."
In an earlier story, the Sun reported that the political speaking chairman refused Paul's request to speak at 1pm, rather than 4pm.
Despite that offer, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway seized the opportunity to scorch Paul in abstentia:
“A famous American comic once said that 90 percent of success is just showing up. I guess we win on that score,” Conway is quoted at the outset of his speech.
Conway also signaled that his campaign is not about to let up on what has become its theme for the last month, that Conway is in sync with local communities expectations of the government's role in fighting drugs, while Paul is out of step with those efforts.
Paul, however, is also undeterred in his main themes, criticizing Obama administration policies and crusading for a reversal of deficit spending.