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Paul's jab leaves him open to Grayson punch

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 12, 2010 at 12:26 AM

Blogger Marcus Carey did a good job following up on a hornets nest I stirred early this week, regarding what Carey describes as the "scorched earth" strategy of U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, while Trey Grayson stands by Kentucky's top Republicans.

As I blogged on Monday, Paul was not invited to speak at the Pulaski County Lincoln Day dinner on Friday night, apparently because of remarks deemed disrespectful of Republican Congressman Hal Rogers at another GOP function in the fall.

And as FoxNews' Steve Brown's blog decribes, Paul repeated similar remarks in front of Rogers, at a McCreary County GOP event this week:

"The system of pork barrel spending is what got us into this mess," said Paul. There was stirring among the Republicans gathered...but no applause.

Paul continued: "We have legislators we sent to Washington who think their job is to be an errand boy or an errand girl for us...and grab as much federal money as they can get and bring it back."

Sitting at the table closest to the podium was Hal Rogers...CONGRESSMAN Hal Rogers. The 5th District Republican who went to Washington the same year Ronald Reagan did...1981. Rogers is a prolific procurer of federal dollars (aka 'pork'). Last year alone...according to Citizens Against Government Waste...Rogers hauled home $80-million dollars in pork.

So was Rand Paul CALLING OUT Rogers?...in Rogers' own district?...within shouting distance of the Hal Rogers Parkway?...fingering Rogers for being part of the spend-aholic DC crowd?...with Rogers SITTING RIGHT THERE?

"No," says Paul, "I try not to refer to individuals in particular...but...if...if...they...if the message is coming to 'em...they should be listening..."

I ask, "If the shoe fits..."

Paul responds, "Yup."

As reported by Fox's Brown, the anti-establishment message provided Republican rival Trey Grayson the opportunity to rally to the defense of the two longest serving Republicans in Kentucky history, Hal Rogers (elected to the U.S. House in 1980) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984):

Getting back to McCreary County...after Paul all but called Hal Rogers an un-repentant part of Washington's budget woes...Trey Grayson stepped to the mic.

Grayson...Kentucky's two-term Secretary of State acknowledge there is discontent among Kentucky voters. The anti-establishment feeling is out there. But on this occasion...Senate candidate Grayson did what many would say is the smart political thing. He passionately defended Rogers.

Grayson refered to "one of my opponents"...but it was clear this one was lobbed at Paul:

"When he's calling out career politicians...he's calling out Hal Rogers and Mitch McConnell...and let me tell you one thing. Hal Rogers and Mitch McConnell are part of the solution in Washington. They are not part of the problem!"

A standing ovation followed.

The only Republican more popular than Hal Rogers in Kentucky's 5th district...might be Mitch McConnell. It was an apt move by Grayson. Rogers and McConnell can mobilize a lot of votes come primary day...and Grayson seems likely to get their help.