Paul defends visit to Howard
April 17th, 2013
12:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Paul defends visit to Howard

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky acknowledged he made some mistakes during his speech at the historically black Howard University last week but largely defended his appearance, the first by a major Republican in nearly two decades.

At a Washington breakfast with reporters Wednesday, Paul said he was unfairly criticized by what he described as left-wing media, who argued the senator wrongly portrayed the history of African Americans switching to the Democratic Party.

In his speech last week, Paul said the transition happened during the Great Depression in the 1930s, arguing that African Americans left the GOP because they were struggling financially and weren't getting the "economic emancipation" they wanted from Republicans.

Paul visited the university in an attempt to change what he described as inaccurate perceptions of the GOP being racist.

"There's a perception that Republicans don't like people of color. They don't like black people, brown people or people of different colored skin. It's not true, but that's the perception we have to overcome. And the only way to overcome that is by showing up and saying over and over again it is not true," he said Wednesday at the breakfast, sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

His visit to the university came weeks after the GOP rolled out its plan to better connect with minority voters, including African Americans. The Republican National Committee will spend $10 million on staff members to communicate conservative principles in cities across the country, one of the many decisions it made following the party's major loss among minority voters in the presidential election.

Critics, however, blasted Paul last week for not talking about the so-called Southern Strategy, a tactic used by the GOP in the 60s and 70s to win over longtime Democrats who opposed the Civil Rights movement.

Paul argued Wednesday the Southern Strategy "cemented" the demographic change that had already taken place among African Americans. He also didn't bring it up, he said, because he didn't go to Howard to mention "the things that don't make us look so good in the Republican Party."

While the first-term senator considered his reception at the speech "very good," he got many negative reviews from students at the event.

"It wasn't an easy audience, but it was the beginning of a conversation," he said at the breakfast.
One student, however, praised Paul just for simply showing up.

"I think Rand Paul won everyone in the room over when he made the announcement that he was going to come and speak to Howard University students because we know throughout the years, the Republican Party has blatantly ignored and disrespected the African American community," Julian K. Lewis, a senior, told CNN's Jake Tapper. Lewis, though, acknowledged he largely disagreed with Paul's viewpoints.

Critics also hit Paul for fumbling to recall the name of former Sen. Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, the first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote.

"Well I'm human. I forgot his name. I knew his name, but I forgot it. It wasn't like it was part of my speech and I forgot it," he said. "It was in an answer."

And he was criticized for asking the audience if they were aware the founders of the NAACP were Republicans. They audience loudly responded "yes."
Paul said Wednesday he was unfairly mocked for being presumptuous and argued the public at large probably doesn't know that part of history, which is why he was asking last week.

"In retrospect it sounds like it is a dumb question, but Republicans haven't been going to Howard for 20 years, and by going there, I did learn something-I learned that everyone there knows," he said.
Paul said he'll continue to make such outreach visits and pointed to his visit to the historically black Simmons College last week in Kentucky.

I'll keep trying. I don't give up easily," he said. "I'll keep trying."


Filed under: Rand Paul
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    "As far as unions being responsible for a bad education system, it starts and ends at home: kids who are not encouraged to read by their parents, who are not taught to be curious and ask questions do not suceed in schools."
    --------
    Well, Tom... you and I agree on something 2 days in a row. And I could not agree more. Now, as painful as it may be, let's take a look at the magnitude of the problem of children being born out of wedlock... no one can expect a single mother (or father) to effectively perform the job of 2 parents, and the results speak for themselves. Of course there are exceptions, but in the grand scheme of things, not many. Curious as to your thoughts...

    April 17, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    One thing we can thank Randroid for:

    Highlighting just how well the GOP/Teatrolls' wish-think "it was our messaging, not our message" attempt to avoid changing for REAL is going to work. He went in there, tried to re-message, pretended that "the reason they don't vote for us is because they don't know us" and basically made a sales pitch equivalent to "please ignore the last 70 or so years of GOP words and behavior" and it backfired horrendously. If the rest fo the GOP/Teatrolls want to keep trying it then by all means...PLEASE PROCEED.

    FACT: There will be no bargaining or "end run" around it, GOPers/Teatrolls. You are either going to change in earnest, including your ideology, policies, words and deeds, or your "end runs" will run you right down a dead end smack into oblivion.

    April 17, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Wake up People!

    I noticed he didn't tell them his views on the Civil Rights movement. And to answer the question by just askin....

    The reason so many blacks are impoverished is, blacks don't always get a fair chance. We are paid significantly lower wages, typically minimum wage. Advancement, forget about it, unless you are one of the lucky ones. Blacks receive felonies for the exact same crimes that whites get misdemeanors, and it's sometimes hard to get a good job if you have a felony, unless you're white and then good old nepotism works. Also blacks HAVE to be significantly smarter than their non black counterparts. It's not enough that we are as good, we must be better. Case in point, President Barack Obama graduate of Harvard Law, yet his intelligence is questioned by people that can't spell nor do they know anything about punctuation. He gets questioned by the likes of Sarah Palin, who probably couldn't graduate clown college.
    -----------------------------------
    Aahh yes, the vicitm mentality at its finest. You learned your lessons well.

    April 17, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    "As far as unions being responsible for a bad education system, it starts and ends at home: kids who are not encouraged to read by their parents, who are not taught to be curious and ask questions do not suceed in schools."
    --–
    Well, Tom... you and I agree on something 2 days in a row. And I could not agree more. Now, as painful as it may be, let's take a look at the magnitude of the problem of children being born out of wedlock... no one can expect a single mother (or father) to effectively perform the job of 2 parents, and the results speak for themselves. Of course there are exceptions, but in the grand scheme of things, not many. Curious as to your thoughts...
    *********************
    You are correct. Its significantlly harder to raise kids alone than it is in a traditional family. One thing that needs to stop is the stigmatising of single mothers, as well as the glorification of having kids out of wedlock. Raising a child is the hardest task anyone can ever do, and as the father of 2 children ( one with some problems: Tourettes syndrome, ADHD and OCD, to be exact) I can speak to how hard it is. The problem is time with your child. Parents need to have a job that allows them to raise their child, as well as flexible scheduling to deal with that. If the jobs are not there, the parenting gets a lot harder. A child needs to have both parents in the picture and their heads in teh game, and too many, regardless of color, do not. They treat children as an inconvenience, which angers me no end, or they focus on fluff. A sense of responsibility rarely happens on its own, it needs to be taught and demonstrated every day if kids are to succeed. The main thing is that kids need to be in a stable house with 2 loving and committed parents: personally, I don't care if the parents are gay or straight, but the kids need stability and time invested in them.

    April 17, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. just askin

    Wake up People!
    Fair is Fair.
    I will vote for the party that shows myself and people that look like myself respect. Not the party of bigots that the GOP has become. I would rather blow my own brains out than ever vote republican. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
    ---

    why bother wasting a bullet? it appears you have filled your brain with nothing but excuses and a wishlist of things you expect others to give to right the unfairness in life. and yet you want and demand respect? respect is earned sir. like everything else of meaning and value in this life. i suggest you get busy earning the respect you want. and fostering government dependence is the worse thing one can do for ones self respect.

    April 17, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. bombastus

    The Republican party may not be racists but there are lots of Republicans who are. Voter suppression is one of the more recent examples. This was a blatantly focussed effort to keep black folks from the polls. Then redistricting. Can't beat 'em at the polls, then move the district lines around to favor Republicans. Then there is the lower IQ end of the tea party. Now these views and actions may not be sanctioned by the GOP party but it is Republicans doing this nasty stuff so if the GOP wants to clean up, they need to marginalize the racists in their midst. Of course, if they do that then they lose a lot of their base. The solution is to delete and reboot. The GOP should disappear and a fiscally conservative wing of the Dems split off to form a conservative party that does not have social issues at the top of the agenda.

    April 17, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Actually Fair, if it had been up to the GOP, I probably wouldn't even be here right now. I also know Einstens definition of insanity. The Democratic party may not be the best but they are damn sure better than the racist republican party. They continue to prove me correct and have every single day since the day President Obama was first elected.

    April 17, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Guest

    Conservative principles are sound, no need to change to please others and you are welcome to the correct side if you hold the same basic beliefs and values. The liberals have sold out, many republicans as well. For the record, conservative does not mean republican.

    April 17, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    -just askin

    Wake up People!
    Fair is Fair.
    I will vote for the party that shows myself and people that look like myself respect. Not the party of bigots that the GOP has become. I would rather blow my own brains out than ever vote republican. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
    -

    why bother wasting a bullet? it appears you have filled your brain with nothing but excuses and a wishlist of things you expect others to give to right the unfairness in life. and yet you want and demand respect? respect is earned sir. like everything else of meaning and value in this life. i suggest you get busy earning the respect you want. and fostering government dependence is the worse thing one can do for ones self respect.
    *************************
    Then how is the GOP offering people a way of doing that? Will any of the GOP billionaires who gave millions to Mitt Romney turn around and invest in business ventures that will put people to work and gain a measure of self-respect? If this is such an important issue to the GOP, why are they not doing everything they can to help reclaim their lives with a job? The reality is that the GOP will not do it until it becomes a political imperative for them to do so, like their belated outreach to Hispanics. Respect is earned, and the GOP has done nothing to earn it from minorities, but they have benefitted from generations of demonizing minorities because that was far easier than really extending a hand so people could lift themselves out.

    April 17, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    "i suggest you get busy earning the respect you want. and fostering government dependence is the worse thing one can do for ones self respect."

    Fostering hate is to be condoned though? I've read enough of your comments and other comments from the right which have done nothing BUT foster hate and bigotry. Yes, Fair is Fair, I'm pointing my finger at you as well. All of you hypocritical finger pointers make me laugh. Keep your hypocrisy and your hate. It's what the media lives for and you holier than thou fools fall for it day after day.

    April 17, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    @Peoples State

    Actually I'm not a victim, nor do I think of myself as one. I went to school, graduated, got a good job and worked non stop for years until W crashed the economy. But during those good times I never forgot what it was like for some, who may not have been as lucky as I was. I watched black mothers and fathers working 3 jobs to simply provide a roof over their families heads. I also watched a company that I admired completely ignore each and every job applicant that was black for almost 10 years. But any c0ke sniffing, meth smoking addict that was a friend of the shop foremans son was hired.

    Like I keep saying, most of us just want a fair chance.

    April 17, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    Well put, Tom... well put indeed.

    Mr. Fair is Fair and I got married very young and had 2 children right away... he insisted that I stay home with them as opposed to working during the day. At night, I went to school to become a nurse and he did the parenting chores. Let me tell you, those were some difficult days, financially. In retrospect, the decisions we made, thankfully, were correct. Kids don't come with instructions, as they say.

    April 17, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Anonymous

    "i suggest you get busy earning the respect you want. and fostering government dependence is the worse thing one can do for ones self respect."

    Fostering hate is to be condoned though? I've read enough of your comments and other comments from the right which have done nothing BUT foster hate and bigotry. Yes, Fair is Fair, I'm pointing my finger at you as well. All of you hypocritical finger pointers make me laugh. Keep your hypocrisy and your hate. It's what the media lives for and you holier than thou fools fall for it day after day.
    -------------------------
    Actually, most of the hate I see on here is put out by you and a few others of your like mind. Either that or you have a funny definition of the word "hate." Like maybe anyone that does not agree with you????

    April 17, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    "Like maybe anyone that does not agree with you????"

    Are you suggesting that I spend my day worrying whether or not others "agree" with me politically? Or, perhaps you are suggesting YOU spend YOUR day worrying whether or not others AGREE with you politically?

    April 17, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Gregory M. Newbold

    I have no doubt the Howard students were polite and not hostile. They were a tough audience only because they, like most AA`s that would attend such an event , are an INFORMED audience.

    Too many Republicans come in from a "superiority complex" perspective. Of course the students knew about the NAACP roots; of course they knew about Brooke. The GOP can not "pull-the-wool" over the eyes of an group that is far more eurudite than their base. If the GOP wants to win over the next Kamala Harris [a Howard grad], they need to admit, reject, and correct past mistakes like the "Southern Strategy". don`t think black/brown/yellow /pink people don`t know what your party has done and that you can svengali [fool] them. They are smarter, more informed, and more focused than you are on these topics which mean more to them than to you.

    Republicans, you want to improve your image with African Americans? Respond like President Obama did about the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin. It would show that you are human and decent; that you won`t try to walk the racial line when the white GOP base might get upset. There is NO allegation against Trayvon that would excuse away Zimmerman`s actions. When the GOP naturally internalizes that then they will have a chance with black voters.

    April 17, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "they have benefitted from generations of demonizing minorities because that was far easier than really extending a hand so people could lift themselves out."

    Pretty much...they cornered the market on people who didn't actually want to see minorities rise to equal status, because hey, "this was supposed to be a white people country"...and they didn't want the number of people they had to compete with to get ahead to grow, particularly if it was people they didn't really view as people and didn't believe "deserved" the help. No no..."congratulations on falling out of your mother...you're now on your own" was the best way to ignore the issues and, they hoped, assure maximal white resentment towards minorities that would lead to GOP/Teatroll votes.

    April 17, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Anonymous

    "Like maybe anyone that does not agree with you????"

    Are you suggesting that I spend my day worrying whether or not others "agree" with me politically?
    ---------------------------
    Read your own posts dude, that is exactly what you and a few others on here do.

    April 17, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    Well put, Tom... well put indeed.

    Mr. Fair is Fair and I got married very young and had 2 children right away... he insisted that I stay home with them as opposed to working during the day. At night, I went to school to become a nurse and he did the parenting chores. Let me tell you, those were some difficult days, financially. In retrospect, the decisions we made, thankfully, were correct. Kids don't come with instructions, as they say.
    ****************************
    I sympathize completely with your experience. The critical difference between people who have made it and those who don't is a combination of opportunity and example. Kids may not come with instructions, but we mimic our parents ( much to our eternal shame) when we parent: its a rare example that shucks off the good examples their parents set. Everything comes with a cost, though, and parents need to be up front about what you give up as a parent: you can't drop everything and take off. As far as the opportunities are concerned, we have both seen the economy shift from an economy where we made things to where we are a more service-driven one. The lack of job security wreaks havoc on families and the psyches of parents, which only compounds existing problems: when you add single parents into the mix, it only increases the stress. I see men my age ( 47) who look at least 10 years older than I do, and its usually from the type of problems I mentioned. The frustration I see on the many who post here is entirely understandable: people want to find someone or something to blame, and I went through a period of that. Once I realized that I needed to worry about the things I could control, my outlook changed and my life improved. Its not a liberal or conservative idea, its a good idea, period: assume responsibility for the things in front of you, put others ahead of yourself , and they will hopefully return the favor. Don't demand it, don't expect it, but accept it with grace when it happens.

    April 17, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Homer Simpson

    A man with no core values despite what he says

    April 17, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Nsc672

    What a waste of time (this is coming from a black republican)...Our community is practically trained to vote Democrat despite the negative results that this has yielded and thus has put themselves into political obscurity. The reason is that the Dems take the black vote for granted and thus never work hard for it, while the R's realize they have no chance with blacks and decide not to waste their time. Further, blacks have a low propensity to vote and are a declining percentage of the overall population. Not sure why Rand Paul thought this was a good idea...

    April 17, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. ritmocojo

    'Rant' Paul at it again I see.

    April 17, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. GonzoinHouston

    I disagree with the frequent charge that all repulicans are racist. Yeah, there are a few hard-core idiots, but that's not unusual. It isn't that republicans hate African-Americans; what they hate are democrats, and the poor and minorities usually vote democrat. If you are sufficiently conservative, Christian, and wealthy, the GOP will welcome you with open arms.

    April 17, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Homer Simpson

    You mean like michele rhee?what a joke, i didnt say things you want us to believe i mean things they actually vote for, instead of lip service

    April 17, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Rand Paul gets a pat on the back for showing up at Howard. However, it's been two decades since the last Republican spoke there, Republican voter suppression efforts such as disallowing voting on the Sunday before the formal Tuesday vote are aimed directly at African-Americans and the republicans obsession with anti-immigration efforts tell a much more accurate story than Paul's "remessaging". And don't the Pauls want the Civil Rights Act repealed and a restaurant given the right to exclude "those people" from service? As one observant wit noted, how can a party that denies the theory of evolution "adapt".

    April 17, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    "Read your own posts dude, that is exactly what you and a few others on here do."

    No, dude, I don't. I am an infrequent blogger.

    April 17, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
1 2 3 4