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(WHAS Political Blog) Grayson and Paul trade barbs in McConnell flap

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 12, 2009 at 6:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 12 at 6:49 PM

 In an interview with WHAS11 News on Sunday, Rand Paul expressed some dissatisfaction with
Republican leaders in recent years.

  With Kentucky's senior senator, Sen. Mitch McConnell, reportedly challenged for Senate
Minority Leader in January by conservative South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, and with 
Paul recently in touch with DeMint, I asked him which senator he would choose.

"I like both of them and I don't know that I could make a judgement,"  Paul said, adding
"I have to win the primary first. So I don't think I'd make a judgement on how I'd vote
for leader, but I think obviously Kentucky having a leader is good for Kentucky."

After months of being stunned by Rand Paul's relatively strong poll numbers and
fundraising, Trey Grayson pounced on Paul declining to unequivocally endorse McConnell
 as GOP leader.

"Without hesitation I would vote for him,"  Grayson told WHAS11 News Thursday, "I don't
understand how you could be a candidate for U.S. Senate here in Kentucky, wanting to
advocate for Kentucky's best interests, and not support your colleague who's in your same
party, as the Republican leader."


We caught back up with Rand Paul today - speaking to students at DuPont Manual High,
 ironically Senator McConnell's alma mater.


"We're kind of interested in seeing their attacks,"  Paul said, "We welcome them because
it means that we've risen to the top and we'll get more attacks.  And that's good."

Paul says he has plenty in common with McConnell, especially the senator's
opposition to the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance limitations.

"I've offered to meet with Senator McConnell. There's a lot of things we agree on,
and we've extended an olive branch even though he is raising money for my primary
opponent," Paul said after speaking with the students.  "We're trying to extend an
olive branch and we're going to meet with him later today.  And we're excited about
trying to bridge differences, not create divide. We want to have some unity."

But Grayson says if the Republicans are looking for unity, Rand Paul is late
to the... party.

"He is 'Johnny come lately.'" Grayson quipped, "I didn't meet him until he started
campaigning.  Most everyone in our party, even back in Bowling Green, you asked the
Warren County Republicans, 'have they ever met Rand Paul in the context of politics?,'
they'd say 'no.' They'd never met him in the context of politics.  He's not been engaged
in the state. He had a taxpayer group a few years ago, but it's been dormant for the last
few years.  He's not been around."
 

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