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Paul: 'Southern Avenger's' past too distracting, staffer resigns

by Joe Arnold


Posted on July 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- The "Southern Avenger" is no longer on the staff of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

Paul said it was a mutual decision for Jack Hunter, his director of new media, to resign nearly two weeks after an expose in the Washington Free Beacon revealed a series of pro-secession sentiments by the co-author of Paul's book, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington."

"I think because of the views he had expressed before my employment it became a distraction and it just wasn't going to work," Paul told reporters in Louisville on Monday.


Click here to see Paul's raw interview with reporters.

During 13 years as a South Carolina radio "shock jock," Hunter advocated southern secession, praised Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth and made racially provocative comments, sometimes while wearing a mask featuring a confederate flag.

Until Monday, Hunter continued to maintain his "Southern Avenger" website, yet that site was offline as of Monday afternoon.

"There's a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist," Hunter wrote in an e-mail published Monday on the Daily Caller website.  "I've also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment."

As Paul lays the groundwork for a presidential run, he was asked if the Southern Avenger's embarrassment stains his reputation, too.

"You know, I think everybody occasionally has people that work for them that sometimes have a background that damages what you're trying to do," Paul responded.  "And so we'll see, only time will tell."

"But I think people will judge me on who I am and what I'm trying to do," Paul said, detailing his outreach to African-American voters including speeches at historically black colleges.