January 26th, 2014
10:19 AM ET
9 years ago

Rand Paul says 'women are winning' the war on women, blasts Bill Clinton as predator

Updated 1:52 p.m. ET

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that Democrats are failing in their attempts to frame the GOP as a party that wages a war against women, and argued the message comes from the party of former President Bill Clinton, whose reputation is still tarnished from his “predatory behavior” in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"The whole thing of the 'war on women,' I sort of laughingly say, 'Yeah, there might have been – but the women are winning it,'" the Republican senator from Kentucky said on CNN's "State of the Union." He said women have made great strides and, as an example, now make up more than half the students at medical and law schools.

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"I think women are doing very well, and I'm proud of how far we've come," the potential 2016 presidential candidate continued.

Rand Paul clarifies comments about poverty and unwanted pregnancies

"And I think some of the victimology and all of this other stuff is trumped up. We don't get to any good policy by playing some sort of charade that somehow one party doesn't care about women or one party is not in favor of women advancing, or other people advancing."

As the GOP gears up for the 2014 midterms, some in the party have acknowledged that Republican candidates could do better when it comes to talking about women's issues.

"Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be." House Speaker John Boehner said last month, when asked about efforts by the House GOP campaign arm to improve how candidates appeal to female voters.

CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, pressed Paul on whether the issue is a "matter of words and tone."

"Somewhat," Paul said. "I think also a lot of the debates we have in Washington and in the public, generally, are dumbed down. They're characterized and we get to the point where we're talking about stuff and throwing stuff back and forth, and we are never getting to the truth."

Paul's comments came in response to a question about controversial remarks made by 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee last week at a meeting of the Republican National Committee.

"Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women," Huckabee said. "That is not a war on them; it is a war for them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it."

Huckabee defends 'libido' comments

No excuse for 'predatory behavior'

In a separate interview Sunday, Paul said Democrats have “concocted” the supposed “war on women,” but they tend to ignore Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office,” he continued. (Lewinsky was closer to 22 when she started her internship in 1995 and moved to a paid position later that year.)

“There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior. And it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with, people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office.”

Paul’s wife, Kelley, said in a Vogue article last year that if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president, Bill Clinton’s history with Lewinsky “should complicate his return to the White House, even as First Spouse.”

Asked if Bill Clinton’s past should be a consideration in a potential second presidential bid by his wife, Paul said he’s “not saying that,” but “sometimes it’s hard to separate one from the other.” When it comes to judging Bill Clinton’s legacy, however, Paul said the affair should certainly be considered a factor.

“Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really. And then (Democrats) have the gall to stand up and say, ‘Republicans are having a war on women’?” he said. “Now, it's not Hillary's fault … but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history.”

CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Rand Paul • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. just asking

    ThinkAgain – Feminism is the radical idea that women are people, too
    Ours is a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, with liberty and justice for all.
    That means our government is tasked with protecting a woman's right to choose to do with her body as she wishes. Our government is also tasked with protecting a woman from the religious objections of her employer by requiring her health insurance to provide affordable access to contraception.

    riiiiight..... you just want everybody else to pay for all of this! you claim you are for individual responsibility when discussing obamacare but we all know that is the usual dishonest ruse of the left.

    January 26, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Hooper

    Republican: We want and need smaller government. No more government intrusion on business and personal life. Unless we deem it necessary to step in to protect what we believe to be motivated by profit. WAKE UP.

    January 26, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Equality for All

    Agreed Mr. Huckabee......now stop medicare and medicaid from funding Viagara!!!! Uncle Sugar shouldn't insult men either!!!!

    January 26, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Jim

    Liberalism is a disease...

    January 26, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. DJL

    Joan said "You have it all wrong I am a woman and I do not care if u want an abortion.. however I do not want my tax dollars paying for something I believe to be murder..."
    Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has prevented federal tax $$ from being used for abortions, so you having nothing to worry about.

    January 26, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Ivan

    Wouldn't it be weird if the same party that opposes equal pay legislation is also the party that declares there's no war on women?

    Surely a coincidence

    January 26, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Ok bland , if you say so it must be true. This is what happends when you let these GOP bafoons tell you what to think when anyone can see the oops it is true. The GOP thinks woman are second class citizens and the GOP should control their bodies. Go GOP fools and tools for the Koch brothers, corperations are people too and should be allowed to vote and have abortions

    January 26, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. shane4756

    Rand Paul's statement, 'Yeah, there might have been – but the women are winning it;' is clearly an admission that there is sustenance to the claim of a 'War on Women.' Although I am pro choice, I understand the argument of the pro life movement. In the balance, the pro life movement also has a close relationship with the 'We don't want funding for pre-school programs' and 'We don't like unwed mothers' and the 'we don't want any legislation that requires equal wages.' In short, the pro life movement is too deeply imbedded with the 'We don't want to support women and children, but we want these immoral and loose women to have their unwanted babies anyhow.' group. That's a formula for a population disaster that we cannot afford.

    January 26, 2014 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Steve

    We'll just have to see when another GOP congressman makes fairy tale claims about women's bodies, then.

    Are a Republican's pants on fire? Well, if it's a legitimate fire, the body has a way to shut it down. He probably wanted to be set on fire!

    January 26, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. tru2america

    The GOP is so full of lies and deciet it frightens me. I fear ppl like Paul, McCain and Huckabee are itching for another war where they can flip the switch and push the button on the nuks stored in the New Mexico and Nv desert bunkers. Then they'll blame God for the error of their ways!

    January 26, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. jackson

    The answers we need to all the issues at hand I truly believe are the same as the ones our founding fathers of this great nation relied upon... GOD. because we are " one nation under God indivisable with liberty and justice for all" When we allow the adversary to cause contentions between us. We are weak and divided. Our enemy is not a matter of race, money, sex, religion, equality, etc. But one of pride, arrogant, power hungry, self-serving, state of intolerance, and judgement which serves only to diminish our goodness. What is the one book where the answers never change? Seek justice and mercy in God and let us not be discouraged or quick to offend.

    January 26, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Roger G

    Women earn less because they accomplish less, have less ability to deal with work stressors without letting it show, and they committee/meeting everything to death so things get accomplished at a snail's pace.

    Anyone whose job entails visiting and interacting with numerous office environments can tell you this - or really any honest observer.

    Women: Gumming up the works and demanding to be rewarded for it since the beginning of time.

    January 26, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. tired of bs.

    ...teaparty making it easier 4 dems in 2014 / 2016

    January 26, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. bbspress

    And EVERY anti-abortionist forgets the fact that abortions were made legal NOT to "kill babies," but to ensure that no more women were killed by seeking out abortions - even when they were illegal - in back alley offices with unsanitary conditions. In other words, like Alcohol, it was a prohibition that didn't make the problem go away - it only made more people die ... including babies and, more often, their mothers. Please - show me ONE pro-choice advocate who LIKES abortions. Seriously. ONE. Please?

    January 26, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. bbspress

    As for Rand's comments about Clinton...yes...it was a mistake. But, Monica could have said no...if she could have just controlled her libido (sarcasm...sarcasm). He "took advantage" of a 22-year-old and our nation was plunged into a worthless waste of taxpayer dollars "investigating" then "impeaching" him...wow. But - he DID just open wide up the past financial and war-mongering lies and policies of the Bush administration, which we are still suffering to dig out of...from HIS party. Nice!

    January 26, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Blue

    Its fine to say that half the population in medical and law school are women, but that only suggests women attempting to gain success in these areas. That statement is not a guarantee that these women 'attempting' to succeed in medical and law school actually will. And then they need to complete a residency or the bar exam after graduation. And then they need to be successful having their own practice, or working with others at a firm. That entails working with the majority (the subject in this case being the male gender) successfully meaning equal pay and opportunities to move up in positions of management. Women (in ratio to their male counterparts) still have difficulty gaining these accomplishments.

    January 26, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Morgan

    Mr. Paul, are you suffering from gender dysphoria? Because if not ... YOU'RE A MAN. You don't get to talk about how far "we've" come. There is no "we" here. You don't understand women's issues, from pay inequality to healthcare to education, but you want to flap your trap like you do. Sit down, son. Don't you have another paper to plagiarize?

    January 26, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |

    Keep the live mikes in front of Rand and Huckabee every month until November.

    January 26, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. keeth

    The GOP needs to straighten themselves out when it comes to how they view and treat women. Taking a swing at the Lewinsky Affair means he has no real argument. That's a shallow, cheap, rookie shot.

    January 26, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. vikingwoman

    Rand Paul's attempt at 'cleaning up' the GOTP's continuing war on womens right's, is funny, if it wasn't so serious! There is no mischaracterization, no1 is taking words out of context! Women are listening to Your words & platforms & the GOTP definitely want to block/ban womens rights to healthcare, contraception & autonomy! We've heard & seen it happen for 5 yrs now, such as unequal pay, unconsti.tutional measures to block safe abortions/access to healthcare/insured contraception, including horrifically ignorant sound bites from 'educated' politicians! Women Do take control/responsibility for our libidos, but Huckabee & his T-vangelicals want to shut down our avenues to do so! Which is pretty hypocritical considering mens ED meds have always been insured & 'religious' employers have had no problem providing it! If a man can knock up a woman at age 90, a woman should be able to protect herself from pregnancy w/out becoming a nun! Women are winning the war? There wouldn't be 1 but for the GOTP!!

    January 26, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. just me

    Read the story of the brain dead texas women kept on life support for weeks against her own and her familys' wishes. Why? Because she was pregnant and texas legislators consider a fetus more important than a womans' dignity and her own wishes.read that and then tell me how there's no war on women. In ruby red texas women aren't 30 year old adults, they're incubators.

    January 26, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. SkepticalOne

    You can't spin your way out of this one Rand. The GOP is waging a war on women and you are a part of it.

    January 26, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Tom

    You won't get anywhere trying to tear the Clinton's down Rand.................. you only make them stronger.

    January 26, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. Mama America

    So now Rand wants everyone to feel sorry and vote for Hillary again......... that's what it sounds like to me.............

    January 26, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. polite centrist

    Economy First

    "Rand Paul is right. We need to change the focus to creating jobs and improving the economy. The policies of the past 34* years have been disastrous for both."


    January 26, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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