It turns out that Rand Paul has reappeared on national cable, after all. I missed Paul's appearance on Neil Cavuto's Fox News Channel show a few days ago, and on Thursday, Paul appeared in studio with Sean Hannity, again on Fox News. Paul reached Kentucky Republican primary voters in a way that few candidates could, through his unusual access (thanks to his dad, Ron Paul) to Fox News. With a third Fox News Channel appearance set for this Saturday, Paul's national media strategy is increasingly evident.... FOX.
Paul and Hannity nearly held hands during the interview, in which they shared the same views on the national debt and the Tea Party. Hannity repeated the same clarifications heard during his radio conversation, asking Paul how much of a libertarian he is and how his constitutional conservative views affect defense policy.
"Something big is going on," Paul said of the Tea Party, adding that the first Tea Party event was on April 15, 2009 in Bowling Green.
In every interview Paul has done in recent weeks, even on Fox News, he is asked about his Civil Rights Act comments, which indicates the flap has not subsided.
Talking Points Memo has the annotated rundown of the Cavuto interview, and here's what Paul said in the interview that stood out to me:
- a Rasmussen Reports poll that coincided with the primary election and showed him with a 25 point lead over Democrat Jack Conway was an "outlier." He says a subsequent poll that showed him with a nine point lead matched a pre-primary poll that showed him with an 8 point lead over Conway. His point is that the flap over Civil Rights Act and BP comments did not cause his support to plummet.
- the Louisville Courier-Journal has refused to let him respond to the controversy in an essay.
- Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning and all four Republican members of Congress from Kentucky have signed on for a fundraiser.
- As to McConnell advising Paul to lay low, Paul says "We won this basically on our own."
- Paul can't help, however, to disclose the advice that he has been getting --
- "You know the most common answer I've been told to give when I'm on national TV now is, 'don't answer the question, keep repeating some answer you want to give.'"
- "Why did you shake up your staff?" Cavuto asked. "We didn't shake up our staff," Paul counters, coming to the defense of former campaign manager David Adams who was given the new title of "campaign chairman" when Jesse Benton was named campaign manager shortly after the post-primary controversies.
- On the BP comments controversy -- "I saw the full-page ad in the newspaper and they've promised to pay for the clean up. Do we have to have a villain? That's my whole point. Do we want a presidential administration that says outlandish things like we're going to put our boot heel on BP? I want BP to pay, everybody wants them to pay for cleaning up the oil mess."
Regarding Paul's BP comments, the Jack Conway campaign released a new video and statement on Thursday, pointing out the next sentence in Paul's Cavuto interview, "But the thing is that sometimes people are well intentioned and bad things happen. And I don't know if there's any negligence or fault here."
In comparison, as Attorney General, Jack Conway took on Big Oil companies following wind storms across the Commonwealth. He stood up for Kentucky families and recovered over $100,000 in a settlement with gas stations accused of price gouging. -- Conway news release
Conway campaign news release
Rand Paul comes out of hiding but continues defense of BP
Repeats the same sentiments he said were "twisted" by the media
LOUISVILLE - In a new video released today by Jack Conway's campaign for the United States Senate, Rand Paul is exposed for his cozy relationship with corporations like BP, drawing a stark contrast between the two candidates.
Paul reemerged this week for a few softball interviews with right-wing friends like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, after hiding for several days following a series of post-Primary interviews where he espoused his shocking out-of-the-mainstream views. That series of interviews included an appearance on Good Morning America where Rand Paul said it was "un-American" to criticize corporations like BP despite their responsibility for the largest environmental disaster in history.
Despite spinning like a typical politician, claiming the media "twisted" his words as a way to deflect widespread criticism of his views, Paul repeated many of the same sentiments this week, including a continued staunch defense of BP in a television interview on Your World with Neil Cavuto.
"I don't think it's constructive now to talk about vilifying BP…If you vilify them and put them all in jail there'll be no body left to clean up the mess." Paul said on Cavuto's show. "But the thing is that sometimes people are well intentioned and bad things happen. And I don't know if there's any negligence or fault here."
In comparison, as Attorney General, Jack Conway took on Big Oil companies following wind storms across the Commonwealth. He stood up for Kentucky families and recovered over $100,000 in a settlement with gas stations accused of price gouging.
"Rand Paul clearly puts the interests of big corporations ahead of the needs of the people for whom he is running to serve. We deserve a senator like Jack Conway who will put the interests of our state first," said Conway spokesperson Allison Haley.