Conway: I'm not just 'Rand Paul's opponent'

05/25/2010 09:10 PM

(UPDATED 9:45 p.m. with news out of Paul’s campaign) Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway told viewers of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” on Tuesday that he was embarrassed by comments of his Republican opponent Rand Paul and said Kentucky “can’t afford” to elect Paul.

Attorney General Jack Conway talks to Keith Olbermann on May 25

Much of Olbermann’s interview with Conway dealt with fallout from Paul’s comments about questioning a provision in the 1964 Civil Rights Act that forbids businesses from discriminating against customers.

“Rand Paul wants to be a Washington outsider but on this issue he’s pulled the good ol’ Washington flip flop,” Conway said. “I mean, it’s clear what Rand Paul stands for is rejecting the fundamental provision of the Civil Rights Act that basically dealt with lunch counters and said you can’t put a ‘whites only’ sign in your window.”

Conway, in a four-and-a-half-minute interview with a clearly sympathetic Olbermann, seemed a bit nervous at times. But he delivered several soundbites aimed at firing up Olbermann’s left-leaning audience.

“His rhetoric doesn’t really match what I think working families in Kentucky need,” Conway said. “He seems to want to be the prince of some out-of-the-mainstream movement. I just want to be the next Senator from Kentucky.”

Olbermann then asked whether Conway was worried that the race “would become all about Rand Paul and less about you and really less about the issues…?”

“A lot of people are just referring to me as Rand Paul’s opponent. I think I can stand on my own right now,” Conway said after plugging his campaign’s Web site to urge people to look at his issue statements. (He resisted the urge to ask for campaign donations.)

“The problem is that Rand Paul has this world view. He has this world view that government should never interfere whatsoever with business,” Conway said, citing as another example his opinion about the Americans with Disabilities Act, which Paul shared in an interview with National Public Radio.

(“I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who’s handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator,” Paul told host Robert Siegel last week on the day after Paul won the GOP primary. “And I think when you get to solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.”

Conway said he and Paul offer voters a contrast. Paul often talks about slashing spending and condemns the bank bailout Congress passed in 2008. Conway said Wall Street is an example of where government regulation is necessary.

“We need more accountability on Wall Street with the banks that caused this problem in the first place,” Conway said. “We need more accountability for energy giants like BP, not less of it.”

Paul, meanwhile, emerged from a two-day media time-out and spoke to the Bowling Green Lions Club on Tuesday afternoon. Olbermann, on his show, poked fun at Paul, an ophthalmologist, for showing up in surgical scrubs. The Associated Press’ Roger Alford has that story from Bowling Green.

UPDATED: Also Tuesday night, Alford reported that Paul will be making internal moves in his campaign, perhaps reassigning campaign manager David Adams. Alford quoted Paul as saying the changes are coming.

Adams told cn|2 Politics late Tuesday that no moves have been decided yet.

“It’s premature to comment on what might happen because we’re hashing out different ideas,” Adams said, adding that any moves might take “the next couple of weeks” to finalize.

“We’re kind of in uncharted territory,” he said. “(Paul) is a first-time candidate. And this is my first real rodeo as well.”

- Ryan Alessi


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