February 7th, 2014
11:04 AM ET
9 years ago

Sen. Paul: Bill Clinton's Lewinsky scandal still a liability for Democrats

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul doubled down on his criticism of President Bill Clinton, saying Democrats should return any money they raised with the help of the former President, who was impeached in 1998 by the House for lying about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

The Kentucky Republican reiterated that Clinton's history is a major splinter in the eye for Democrats as they argue that the GOP is waging a war on women.

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"They can't have it both ways. And so I really think that anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back," the Kentucky Republican said in an interview with C-SPAN set to air Sunday on "Newsmakers."

"If they want to take position on women's rights, by all means do. But you can't do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace."

Paul, who's mulling a 2016 presidential bid, said last month that Clinton's past of "predatory behavior" should be considered a liability for Democrats, who've been trying to make the case that Republicans are out of touch on women's issues.

"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," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Clinton has frequently been a big attraction on the campaign trail for congressional candidates, and he met with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama at a retreat this week.

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."

The Democratic National Committee responded to Paul's new comments Friday, faulting the senator for not supporting pieces of legislation favored by women's rights groups.

"If his claims of concern for women are sincere he should start by rethinking his opposition to the Violence Against Women's Act, paycheck fairness and the right of women to make their own health care decisions," said Lily Adams, DNC's deputy communications director.

Sen. Claire McCaskill defended the Clintons following Paul's interview last month, calling his remarks "infuriating," but Paul pointed out Friday that McCaskill said in 2006 she didn't "want (her) daughter near him."

McCaskill immediately regretted the comment and asked forgiveness from the Clintons. But she still went on to endorse then-Sen. Obama in the Democratic presidential primary over then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Fast forward to 2013, McCaskill appeared to be back in Hillary Clinton's camp.

The Missouri senator, who won re-election in 2012, became the first member of Congress to officially back Ready for Hillary PAC, throwing her support to the group last June.

The Washington Times first reported Paul's comments in the C-SPAN interview.

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. smith

    @Jersey Jeff-Better than Obama`s face or Biden`s face on the tube.

    February 7, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    smith – Thanks for the joke of the day.

    February 7, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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