October 20th, 2010
04:58 PM ET
8 years ago

Paul's wife blasts Conway over 'smear' ad

Bowling Green, Kentucky (CNN) – Rand Paul's wife made a rare public speaking appearance Wednesday to blast Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway for raising questions about Paul's faith in a controversial television ad still on the airwaves.

"I am truly shocked by Conway's ads questioning Rand's faith based on nothing more than anonymous accusations from nearly three decades ago," Kelley Paul told reporters, referencing Conway's now infamous "Aqua Buddha" ad, which claims that Paul mocked religion while in college.

Paul called the ad a "smear" and said she and her husband are both devoted Christians who have attended a Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green for nearly two decades.

"Jack Conway has a family too, and while I'm sure he isn't thinking about it right now, these personal attacks hurt people's families," she said. "I'd have thought someone with a beautiful baby daughter would take that into account, no matter how desperate he may be to win."

Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, was unavailable to make remarks Wednesday because he was performing 20 eye surgeries, his campaign manager Jesse Benton said.

The ad has drawn critics in both political parties, but Benton acknowledged to reporters that the brouhaha had thrown the campaign off its reliable anti-Obama message.

The Conway campaign sees an opening if Paul isn't able to keep the race focused on national issues in the final two weeks of the race.

"We have been talking about faith and gutter politics, and we certainly did need to respond to these gutter attack because they are very personal against Rand and his family," Benton said. "[The campaign] needs to come back to Obamacare, spending, debt and an out of control government in Washington that threatens us all."

Benton said Paul will decide in the next two days whether to participate in Monday's final scheduled debate against Conway, "someone who is personally smearing him."

Update: Kentucky State Auditor and Conway for Senate Chairperson Crit Luallen responded to Paul in a statement Wednesday:

"The question is not whether the ad went too far. The question is whether Rand Paul went too far – and whether he continues to go too far for Kentucky families. When his actions were as extreme as those cited in the ad, Paul owes an explanation to the voters. 

"These questions are not being asked in a vacuum; these actions are yet another example of Rand Paul being out-of-step with Kentucky values – whether it's raising the Medicare deductible to $2,000 or proposing a 23% national sales tax, or questioning basic tenants of the Civil Rights law and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Women in particular are owed an explanation by Paul: for an act that was demeaning to a woman, for his writings where he has been quoted as asking 'Since when have any two people ever been equal?', and for questioning government's role providing equal pay for equal work.

"This is not about Rand Paul's faith or his family. It's about his judgement and his values. It's about those who seek office being held accountable for their actions."

- CNN's Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • Kentucky • Rand Paul
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. rush

    This is going to hurt Paul with his supporters. When they find out he went to college ...

    October 20, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Pat

    paul is a living, breathing SMEAR.............saying that he was smeared is redundant

    October 20, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. sheppard

    Poor widdle Rand, having his faith questioned.... of course calling our President a Muslim is OK. Rand & wifey certainly are hypocrites and teabagees, but then I'm being redundant....

    October 20, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. rs

    Funny how the TP people feel college years ought to be off limits (youthful indescression...) as should anything doing with beliefs or faith, yet we STILL hear about questions on Obama's birth, and birthplace, he's a Muslim, his radical preacher, etc. from Palin, Paul and the rest of the ultra radical right. Do they think they are special, or should be treated differently?

    October 20, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Jack

    If you want to throw stones at other; expect them to be thrown back at you!

    October 20, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. Sofie

    The stupidity in this election is appalling. It is okay to bring up a college article written in 1985 by Chris Coons which the Tea Party members and some republicans embraced and spewed to the point that many voters are convinced that he is. Research it. I don't like either the marxist thing or this one, but it is the political climate, get over it Rand Paul and tell people what your platform is instead of your faux indignation. I am not a liberal but the blatant hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    October 20, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Sparky

    truth does hurt sometimes

    October 20, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. John

    Yes let go back to OBAMACARE the man care enough to try to give the poor and people thatcould n't afford to have medical Insurance,It mat not be perfect but he try. Want did the REPUBLICAN do to help him they just vote NO. 2)SPENDING most of the money that Obama spend have been pay back.3)Debt that because of six years the REPUBLICAN control the house and 8 year of bush fighting two war,one that we shouldn't have been there in the first place,the trillions of dollars spent on Iraq and rebuilding.4)Out of control of GOVERNMENT. well I guess there wouldn't be if the REPUBLICAN try to help,but all they did was vote NO all the time. We the people voted you people in office to make the GOVERNMENT work,but It pretty hard with one side all way VOTE NO. AND if you run for public office than you should all ready now your back ground is open. Plus I wouldn't vote for anybody the TEA PARTY back and I think his Idea are to far out there.

    October 20, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Brad

    If you can't stand the heat, get out of the (political) kitchen.

    October 20, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Anne

    Rand Paul is really out of touch. Whether it's charging seniors $2000 for Medicare or forcing young women to worship his God, the Aqua Buddha, he's just plain wrong!

    October 20, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    If the GLOVE doesn't FIT – YOU must AQUIT!!! The only thing here – the GLOVE FITS!!!

    DEMOCRATS – Rally behind Conway and keep out the far-right EXTREME!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!!

    October 20, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Bong hits for Paul !

    Hey, Mrs Paul. We are not questioning Rand Paul faith, we are questioning his kookyness! And what ever happen to love thy neighbor.

    October 20, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. mike

    a word of caution might be in order for wifey: politics isn't a very polite buisness and if you put yourself in the campaign, you make yourself a target. Spouses, in the past, have been given a pass, more or less. However, republicans and there known operatives have said some pretty dreadful things about the first lady. The party associated with your husband has been lowering the bar on this for years now. The stage has been set for some very impolite payback. Proceed with caution.

    October 20, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    I like Rand Paul, but I'd like him more if he'd wise up and drop the superstitious drivel of religion.

    October 20, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. Patti in Dallas

    Wow, Tea Partiers and Birthers seem to have no problem questioning President Obama's faith based on absolutely NOTHING except their own prejudices. The irony just screams here.

    October 20, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Paula

    Let me get this straight...it's ok to smear Obama regarding Rev. Wright and question his citizenship, but it's not ok to question words spoken and actual actions taken by a political candidate? Common, both parties do this, it's up to the citizenry to sift through the garbage and make informed decisions. Don't pretend outrage (either party!)...all's fair in politics!

    October 20, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. 13 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    Desperate people do desperate things. The DemocRATS sure can't run on their record of their blind following of Reid, Pelosi and Obozo in the trampling of Constitution and bankrupting of this country on their insane spending that has keep unemployment at record levels. HAD ENOUGH AMERICA??? Vote Republican. Send the Socialist DemocRATS packing.

    October 20, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. michele

    Who cares what he says about anyone's religion? It is no-one's business!!!

    October 20, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  19. Bessy

    WOW !!! When all else fails, send the little missus out to speak for you. I can't get over these " cookoo's " running for office who are using their religion as their reason for " taking back America ". When that doesn't do enough for them, then it seems they use their wives/husbands. ( Remember Sarah's husband jumping on Miller last week ? )
    Get out there and vote Democrats so that our country is not exposed to these idiots passing laws that will REALLY hurt us all.

    October 20, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Ed Fl

    Paul another right wing kook that lets his wife fight his battle. That is pretty appropriate for a Kentucky right wing politician He and his Mentor the confederate general Mcconnell that is resposible for killing 4000 plus kids and wounding 30,000 in Bush wars will get plenty of jobs for the funeral parlors ,hospitals and defense institues if he can get followers like paul elected to the GOP Senate. It is great to send other people's kids but not himself or his kids. Your wife and Kids should be proud of your potential future.

    October 20, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. Tam

    Did he or didn't he? If he did, not a smear.

    October 20, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. sunsohot

    Mrs. Paul needs to get a tougher hide and realize that name calling and attacks on personal lives are the substance of politics and campaigning. How many republicans call out the President on his Christianity and are critical of the first family in general?
    Oh, and 20 eye surgeries on Wednesday? If each one only took 30 minutes, poor Mr. Rand would still have a non-stop 10 hour work day..........not likely.

    October 20, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. A Kickin` Donkey

    I too am a Christian and I have tired of politicians who hide behind religion.

    Conway`s ad has nothing to do with an attack on "faith". Paul`s camp only seeks to wrap this in a false "faith" label because they think anything religious is sacrosant and prevnts Rand from having to talk about what he did.

    Faith should not be used as a euphamisim for Christian either.

    Whwn will the media have the guts to point out these obvious manipulations? If they don`t, then they have no probity.

    October 20, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    When you run a campaign based on this wondeful faith of yours, and one finds out that that wonderful faith wasn't always so faithful or wonderful, its open game in silly season. Conway isn't lying. He's just pointing out the facts. When one protests with the intensity of the Pauls, it makes me wonder if they "doth protest too much." Just saying.

    October 20, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. Robin in SC

    And tell me exactly how this is worse than the accusations tea partiers, birthers and the like have thrown at the President of the United States??? At least these accusations are documented and true. Sometimes the truth hurts.

    October 20, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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