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Rand Paul's balancing act with the media

by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 9, 2010 at 4:10 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 9 at 12:50 AM

For months, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Rand Paul was enjoying all the attention from pundits, Kentucky media and national media, especially Fox News.  Rival Trey Grayson laughed that I had a "crush" on him.  

Now, the Sarah Palin endorsement has racheted up the attention being paid to Paul, and as Marcus Carey's Bluegrass Bulletin points out, you "live by the press, die by the press."  While Carey's question if  the Rand Paul Campaign (is) Starting To Come Unraveled, may be premature, it will be very interesting to see how the Paul campaign weathers the increased scrutiny of playing in the "big leagues."

That's where Paul's experience in dealing with the national media helps prepare him for the remainder of the campaign.  He is an anomaly of a first time candidate with the kind of access he has to the very political talk shows watched by engaged Republican primary voters.  What other Kentucky candidate (other than Mitch McConnell) would have dozens of national appearances on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, as well as on radio shows like Glenn Beck who riffed on Paul for about ten minutes Monday? 

The free media exposure is now complemented by a $50,000 ad buy on Kentucky cable TV for the Fox News Channel.  In addition, the Paul campaign spent $6500 for a Super Bowl commercial on WKYT-TV in Lexington, which included WYMT-TV in Hazard.

Yet, as Carey notes, "don't be surprised if the media delights in tearing you to shreds when the opportunity lands in their laps."

Witness some of the backlash to the Sarah Palin endorsement, being enjoyed by the Grayson campaign, who took delight in Palin saying "Ron Paul" when talking about "Rand Paul" on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace.

“No wonder she mixed them up,"  Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson said in a statement (full text below), "Ron and Rand’s positions on closing Guantanamo Bay, leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, the attacks on September 11th , and drug enforcement are identical, and dangerous,” said Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson.

Paul, however, stressed in a WHAS11 interview in late January that he differed with his father on immediately closing Guantanamo Bay: 

"I don't think we should close down GITMO until we decide what to do with the prisoners. I think there is a form of due process through the military trials."



Sarah Palin Refuses to Defend Ron and Rand Paul’s Dangerous Positions

 Florence, Kentucky –

             Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin mixed Rand Paul up with his father and biggest fundraiser, failed Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul to the show’s host Chris Wallace.

             “No wonder she mixed them up.  Ron and Rand’s positions on closing Guantanamo Bay, leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, the attacks on September 11th , and drug enforcement are identical, and dangerous,” said Grayson campaign manager Nate Hodson.

             Rand Paul has said repeatedly that he does not disagree with his dad except on minor issues:

 Rand Paul Agrees That He Is Just A Chip Off The Old Block.  Alex Jones:  “You're basically what I would call a chip off the old block, your policies are basically identical to your father's, correct?”  Rand Paul:  “I'd say we'd be very, very similar.” (Rand Paul on the Alex Jones Show, 5/21/2009)

 Rand Paul Said He Disagrees With His Dad Only in Minor Issues.  Washington Wire: Are there any areas where you disagree with your father’s views on issues?  Paul: There are some minor areas where we disagree. (Peter Wallsten, “Q&A with Rand Paul:  Shaking Up the  Kentucky Senate Race,” The  Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire Blog, 11/12/09)

 When Asked On What Rand Paul Disagrees With Ron Paul, His Response Was About Taking Money From Medicare And Medicaid, Not Policy Issues. “I couldn’t resist this:  is there any issue on which the younger Paul disagrees with his father? ‘Yes,’ he said with a laugh, recalling how his father would do medical work free of charge rather than take payments from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  ‘I do participate in both programs.  With my particular practice as an opthamologist, I have to or I couldn’t keep my practice going.’” (John Gizzi, “A ‘Dr. Paul’ In The Senate, Too?” Human Events, 8/15/09)

 Rand Paul Said We Should Send the Terrorists at Guantanamo Back to Their Home Countries.  “I think they should mostly be sent back to their country of origin or to tell you the truth I’d drop them back off into battle … if you’re unclear, drop ‘em off back into Afghanistan.  It’d take them a while to get back over here.”  (YouTube video of Rand Paul speaking in Paducah, KY, 5/8/09)

 Rand Paul is Unsure of the Mission in Afghanistan.  “After eight years in Afghanistan, several questions arise:  1. Is our National Security still threatened by terrorist training camps?; 2. Why haven't Afghanis begun to provide their own security?; 3. Are we there because of a threat to our security or to build a nation?”  (Rand Paul Statement on Afghanistan, 12/1/09)

 Rand Paul Does Not Support the Troops in Iraq.  “Yeah I say not out of Iraq now, I say out of Iraq two or three years ago and or never go in, even better. But I think that when you get out the only thing that you need to propose and that people will accept is that you do it in an orderly fashion.”  (AntiWar.com’s “Antiwar Radio With Scott Horton,” www.youtube.com, May 15, 2009)

 Rand Paul Refused to Answer if He Thinks the United States Caused 9/11.  “I think that’s a complicated situation, that there is truth on both sides,” David Adams, Rand Paul’s campaign manager, said. (Joe Gerth, “Paul Spokesman Quits Over Web Remarks,” The Courier-Journal, 12/17/09)

 Rand Paul Wants to Eliminate Federal Drug Laws.  “It’s a state issue. All issues of crime are better addressed at the state level.” (Peter Walsten, “Q&A with Rand Paul,” Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire Blog, 11/12/2009)