May 21st, 2010
04:41 PM ET
10 years ago

Conway on Rand Paul: 'he's clearly backpedaling'

Washington (CNN) - The Democrat hoping to be Kentucky's next senator apparently smells political opportunity in recent comments from his opponent, Rand Paul.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway spoke about his Republican opponent's views on the Civil Rights Act and the American with Disabilities Act in a Friday interview on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

In an interview earlier this week on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show, and other recent interviews with the Louisville Courier Journal and other outlets, Paul suggested that the landmark federal anti-discrimination legislation should not apply to private businesses. Critics have seized on his comments and suggest that Paul would consent to private businesses, such as restaurants, refusing to serve African-Americans and other groups.

In a Thursday interview with Blitzer, Paul said the nation's segregationist past is a "stain on our history," and said he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act had he been in the senate in 1964.

But his opponent said that does not douse the firestorm surrounding Paul.

Conway told Blitzer, "Rand Paul claims to be running as an outsider. But on this issue here in the last 24 hours on your show, he pulled the good old Washington flip-flop."

"...he's clearly backpedaling because he's seen the national firestorm that he has caused," Conway added. "What's clear from what he has said repeatedly, up until your program yesterday, is…he's rejecting a fundamental provision in the Civil Rights Act that says that if - if you're providing a public accommodation, if you're a restaurant or you're a hotel, that you can't discriminate based on race."

Conway is also seizing on Paul's views about the American with Disabilities Act, which bars discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation and other areas.

In the Thursday interview, Paul told Blitzer he was not sure if he would have voted for that act, saying he is in favor of accommodating people with disabilities in the workplace.

But Paul, and eye surgeon and first time political candidate, added, "...let's say you have a local office and you have a two-story office, and one of your workers is handicapped. Should you not be allowed maybe to offer them an office on the first floor? Or should you be forced to put in a $100,000 elevator? I think it sounds like common sense that you should be allowed to give them a first floor office."

Conway told Blitzer, "I mean what's he saying to people with disabilities - that just take your office on the first floor? "If you have colleagues with whom you need to interact upstairs, you, you can't go up there? We don't need to put a ramp or an elevator? What's he saying to the veterans that are coming back from these two wars and are disabled?"

Conway summed up Paul's view on ADA as a "very callous" and said they are "outside of the mainstream."

Conway also weighed in on Paul's Friday comments, on ABC, where he criticized the Obama administration's response to the Gulf oil spill disaster.

In the Good Morning American interview, Paul said, "What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, you know, I put my boot heel on the throat of BP. I think that sounds really un-American and his criticism of business - I've heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill."

To that, Conway told Blitzer, "You know, talking about what's un-American, BP is a huge international conglomerate. And saying that the administration shouldn't have its boot heel on their throat, BP needs to - to pay for that cleanup."

"In the Senate, we don't need another senator who just stands up for the corporations. I'm interested in standing up for the people of Kentucky. There are people in Kentucky who are scared to death that the government somehow is going to be left with a bailout tab for this Gulf oil spill. And so he's standing up with big business instead of standing up with people who need help," Conway added.

Conway edged out Kentucky Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo in Tuesday's Democratic Senate primary. Paul trounced Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the GOP contest.

–CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • Jack Conway • Kentucky • Popular Posts • Rand Paul • The Situation Room
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Renee Woodrum

    Rand Paul is NUTS ! I don't want him to represent our state! And I will work hard to ensure that Jack Conway is elected . Anyone whom has a brain will refuse to vote for that Bigot Rand Poor Manners Paul . He represents what is wrong in this world ! Crazy, crazy. If you a man who will be for decent hard working Kentuckians then you should support Jack Conway .

    May 21, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. thomas

    He's a well to do Aristocratic Libertarian , what do you expect !
    As they say , the Liportarions are always the first to cry like a baby when the light in the lighthouse stops burning !

    May 21, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Ethan

    Randy Paul just BACKED OUT OF BEING ON MEET THE PRESS this Sunday!

    What a LOSER!

    Only the THIRD cancellation by a major guest in the 62 year history of the show. The only other cancellations from major guests were Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in 1996 and Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar on May 18, 2003. Again: L-O-S-E-R.

    Jack Conway, you da man!

    May 21, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. File under "Sarcasm"

    Rand Paul is a moron who won the primary based on his father's name and connections but that won't give him a victory in the general election.

    May 21, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    Uh oh, just saw another article stating a salmonella outbreak. But according to Rand's view, Accidents Happen! Right?

    May 21, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. Brandon

    Rand Paul can win in Kentucky. Sad, but there are a lot of "people like him, who think like him, and look like him" in Kentucky.

    May 21, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. NC

    What can you expect from a teabagger. They are all racist, ignorant nuts. I wonder how Palin feels about repealing the American with disabilities Act since she has a disabled child.

    May 21, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    I have one word for the Randroid: Haldol.

    May 21, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Boycott Rush`s Sponsors

    He going in the right direction at least.He and many of the morons on this post belong in the year 1810,not 2010.

    May 21, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Burt

    @ GT "get real.. your toast" No, you get your toast real...


    May 21, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Mike

    OH NO, the liberals are going to blame Pauls winning this month and in November on President Bush and VP Chaney. Things still do not change with the mindless liberals,to busy waiting at home for their government hand outs. Cannot work because of a bad back, bad back is from carrying around their lazy rearends.

    May 21, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. olivia

    Paul said, this country should go back in time 100 years, ago. Oh NO!
    He going to take away our micro wave, cars, fax machines, telephones, beepers, indoor plumbing, copy machines, airplanes, buses, road signs, traffic lights, sociial security, medicare, pensions, 401Ks, can the media (including FOX news and all the blondes) no birth control, no police, no firefighter, no help for the flood victims in Nashville, no clean oil spills by the rich oil companies, blacks are not allowed to vote, no blacks allowed in white private businesses, white poor people can not vote, women can not vote, etc. Paul is a pathic unqualified man for the US senate. We the people are trying our best get rid of the irresponbile incompent US senators. We the people of the US do not need another inflamed controversy moron in the senate.

    May 21, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Backpedaling? More like Michael Flatley on LSD trying to Lord of the Dance barefoot on broken glass.

    May 21, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Mike V.

    Rand Paul, how far back must we turn the clock? You are opposed to the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EPA, OSHA, and the minimum wage. You were not born when the Cuyahoga river caught on fire due to pollution floating in it. You were not alive when coal miners needed protection from predatory mine owners and plutocrats. When miners recently were killed in Ky. you said "accidents happen"! You always DO side with business and the wealthy to progress their interests at the expense of working people and the poor. Now you stand up for BP in the disaster in the Gulf, which will require decades to clean up! What wealthy interests are you in the hip pocket of? If not, why do you do their bidding? Who do you really represent?

    May 21, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Snerdly(the real one)

    We should name a twister after this guy.Shake his head and listen to the rocks,wow.

    May 21, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Johnathan, WPB

    Rand Paul and the Tea people, Sarah Palin... haven't we been through all this already?
    I mean...if you stop to think about it, George W Bush was a male verson of a Sarah Palin, so we've been through that

    How'd that work out fer ya? (wink)

    As far as Paul? the deeper he digs his hole the more they'll love him. Stupid is as stupid does with those people I guess.

    May 21, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Brian

    I love it Faxnews does not have a word about this on their site. They have head lines about the Chicago Mayor losing his cool but nothing about Paul. keep drinkin the coolaid tea bagers and we'll this country will have a real problem,.... One Party!

    May 21, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. normajean

    This man is a" nut case". Not only would he take us back decades with his voting, but I'm not sure that we can ever make sense of his inside out ideas and thoughts. He talks around in circles. I've seen him interviewed by intelligent well spoken people and never heard him give a discerning answer to any question put to him. Come on voters, we've got enough loose screws in politics, let's not add another.Didn't he ask for a "honeymoon" after the voting, for the press to ease off? Oh sure, just like President Obama DIDN'T get and that hasn;'t ended yet. Ha!

    May 21, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Steve (the real one)

    I see the flood gates opened and out poured the name calling liberals! No suprise! When a bartender refusing another drink to a drunken customer THAT is discrimination! When a restaurant refuses service to a customer without shoes or a shirt THAT is discrimination! The man said he thinks it is wrong BUT it is not the constitutional responsibility of government. Baptist churches don't hire Catholic priests THAT is discrimination. I guess that is too hard for you all to understand!

    May 21, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Conservative Democrat

    Not only are the Conservatives racist, self centered, and intolerant, they don't even know how to name their kids. Mitt? Rush? Shouldn't this guys name be Paul Rand?

    May 21, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. The Clear Thinking Independent

    You know ... as an independent I am dismayed by comments by Joe Scarborough or Laura Ingram that Rand Paul should not have gone on Rachel Maddow's show.

    Ms. Maddow was polite and a gracious host. She didn't set the man up. She simply followed up on an interview Paul gave his home town newspaper over A MONTH AGO and one he gave National Public Radio the day before he was on MSNBC. Let's also remember that he announced his candidacy on Maddow's show. It was not a hostile interview. Paul was evasive to a basic question.

    I applaud Maddow for being one of the few journalists that does her homework and is prepared to challenge POOR, WEAK, INACCURATE, MISLEADING responses by guests on her show.

    Unlike Ingram or Scarbourough ... she doesn't try to verbally bully those that she disagrees with but my heaven help you if you are a mental lightweight.

    May 21, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. Papasan in AZ

    Rand Paul is a rich boy playing out his Fathers political fantasies!
    Rand Paul has lead a privileged life, never worked hard, and he is now in a real fight of his own making. How can you feel sorry for a Hill Billy Racist Bigot...

    May 21, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. No Incumbents 2010

    Jack Conway is a career politician wannabe political hack. People are sick and tired of being called racist based on political motivations. Rand Paul is a true American patriot, not a liberal big-government career politician like Conway. Maybe Conway can get Rachel Maddow to compaign for him in Kentucky, since she is already doing it from her New York City studio. Jack Conway wants the government to regulate everything. Rand Paul wants individuals to take personal responsibility for their own decisions.

    May 21, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Melinda

    Rand Paul is not a Kentuckian he is from Texas give you any ideas?

    May 21, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. Chris

    I'm sorry, but if you think he's backpedaling, you have absolutely no clue at all what he was trying to say from the beginning. Look, i don't agree with everything Rand says, but it is really starting to piss me off that people seem to have lost all ability to think critically and to comprehend not-even-all-that-complex ideas.

    I shouldn't even be gratifying this bs with a response, but, honestly, I just wanted to rant. Just think objectively about what he was trying to say. Just five minutes of thinking. Then believe this mass media hooplah and rant all you want.

    Thank you.

    May 21, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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