Rand Paul bristles at questions about 'Southern Avenger' ex-aide
August 6th, 2013
09:08 PM ET
8 years ago

Rand Paul bristles at questions about 'Southern Avenger' ex-aide

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul sounded less than thrilled Tuesday when a radio interviewer pressed the Kentucky Republican about his association with a former aide, who once used a pro-secessionist "Southern Avenger" persona while hosting a radio show.

Jack Hunter, who acted as Paul's new media director and previously helped author a book with the senator, submitted his resignation in July.

Speaking on the NPR program "On Point," Paul said Hunter had been "unfairly treated by the media and he was put up as target practice for people to say was a racist, and none of that's true."

"If you look at his writings, there are a lot of problems and a lot of disagreements, and none of it do I support, but none of it was racist," Paul contended.

Hunter had made a number of provocative comments about race and was a member of the pro-Southern independence group League of the South before he started working for Paul. He had previously written articles praising John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, and acknowledged that he toasts Booth's birthday annually.

When interviewer John Harwood began reading an article from "The Economist" about racism within the libertarian movement, Paul cut him off.

"Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me?" he asked. "That won't make for much of an interview if I have to sit through reading after recitation of people calling me a racist."

"I'm not going to really go through an interview reciting and responding to every yahoo in the world who wants to throw up a canard," he continued.

Harwood referred back to the 2010 book, "The Tea Party Goes to Washington," which Hunter helped write. "He's someone who wrote a book with you," Harwood pointed out.

Paul, who is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, has spent much of his trips to early-voting states this year encouraging a more welcoming attitude among Republicans. The Kentucky Republican told a crowd of New Hampshire GOP activists the party needs to "grow bigger."

Questions about ex-aides are a distraction from those efforts, he said.

"Why don't we talk about Rand Paul, I'm the one doing the interview. You can go ahead and beat up on an ex-employee of mine, but why don't we talk about Rand Paul and what I'm trying to do to grow the party, and then we might have an intelligent discussion," he said.

Filed under: Rand Paul • Senate
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. rs

    Rand Paul discovers hiring racists might not help the GOP try to show it isn't...racist.

    August 6, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Ohhhh, the little man is angry!

    August 6, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  3. John

    "If you look at his writings, there are a lot of problems and a lot of disagreements, and none of it do I support, but none of it was racist," Paul contended.

    This is an exercise in rhetoric. A disavows B, but says B was not C. Who wants to take this the next step?

    August 6, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. just me

    Ooooh, his panties are in such a twist.

    August 6, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. S. B. Stein

    Really have to wonder what is going on with Paul and his staff (current and former).

    August 6, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. Lionel

    Rand Paul is a nut and is a reflection of the GOP/Tea Baggers.

    I hope he gets nominated in 2016. What a joke this is going to be.

    August 6, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. Hypocrisy

    Sounds allot like President Obama's racist preacher.

    August 6, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    He can "gloss" over it all he wants, but the fact still remains he will NEVER, EVER be president of the United States as long as minorities continue to vote. Republicans better face reality FAST and realize they can't win with just the "white vote" anymore.

    August 6, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. Vendella

    Paul totally ducked that one.

    August 6, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. Kinard

    Bristles? Well, I'd hate to see him in full tiff. Man, oh man, can it get anymore screwed out here? This pimple on an elephant's rear needs to go home. And the sooner the better.

    August 6, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. chuck

    What's a matter Mr. Paul? Does the truth and having to answer questions about racism bother you? You like to smear others, but when you get called out you bristle like an old wet hen. Tough! Time to answer up you silly little man.

    August 6, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  12. LastoftheZucchiniFlowers

    OK – let's talk about Rand Paul. This is the guy who doesn't think he needs to be a Board Certified physician – he can just 'call himself' an 'opthamologist' without bothering to take (and Pass) the Board Exam which would guarantee his patients of his (ahem) 'competencies'. This fellow has hubris beyond that which he is ALREADY showing to the world. Ever see the old movie, "Dead Zone"? Paul is the Martin Sheen character in the flesh!!! He ALREADY admits that he's full of entitlement!!! Red Flags everywhere......

    August 6, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. g

    he would make a great president for the country of kentucky

    August 6, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. kamarasune

    Amazing they demonize Paul but are going to run two full documentaries on Hillary before the election...this rag is so slanted...

    August 6, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  15. Michael Benjamin

    Having an intelligent conversation with Rant Paul is simply not possible.

    August 7, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  16. Rebecca

    Extremists are exhausting.

    August 7, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. enuff

    Who he hires is a reflection of his ideals...or does.that only go one way? Like with every person Obama has even shook hands with...he is somehow responsible for every idea that person ever had, right? Paul has certainly accused Obama for the exact same predicament

    August 7, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  18. Thomas

    Hunter had previously written articles praising John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, and acknowledged that he toasts Booth's birthday annually.

    Southern independence and the Aqua Buddha ?

    Rand Paul is a spoiled brat , a reble without a clue .

    August 7, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  19. Reed

    So, the media is afraid of Rand Paul and is beginning the character assassination, demonization and public smearing.

    Why any Republican would even talk to a "journalist" from the Obama poodle media is hard to comprehend.

    August 7, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  20. Name Uche Agonsi

    Talking about Rand Paul means talking about what Rand Paul does.........like being a racist. Employing an arch racist, Hunter, & being an arch member of the Tea Party are confirmations. And then emotionally snapping at a press interviewer all go to justify how 'presidential' he can be. This guy is a waste pipe.

    August 7, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  21. FamilyDoc2

    2016 will be a very interesting campaign, if you are a Democrat. Rand Paul has flown under the radar for a long time, but the searchlights are going to be on him and he is not able to take the flak. The GOP may end up choosing him as their nominee, but in the election he will garner less votes than Romney. The racism in the TP is blatant, and is not much more hidden in the libertarian movement. The votes of white men no longer win elections, and the GOP/TP will slowly continue to become more and more irrelevant.

    August 7, 2013 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  22. DENNA

    Seriously, if the GOP wants to remain viable, they are going to have to weed out the nuts in their party. America has changed and the GOP is going to have to cut loose the bigots, homophobes, and anti-immigration nuts. The election and reelection of Barack Obama should be a wake-up call to these people. Or are they hanging their hats on the voter-suppression crowd to get back into office?

    August 7, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  23. Party of hate and division.

    Rand Paul needs to understand that he already has a disadvantage from just being from the south, and a republican. He will be scrutinized and stereotyped by the media and voters. It does not help having past working relationships with a nut case. Good luck Paul, you will need lots of it.

    August 7, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  24. kirk

    An intelligent discussion? Was there someone else in the room?

    August 7, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  25. ladyjag

    One of the most stupid snators of all time, the man is an idiot.

    August 7, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
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