Paul back on message on national media circuit

06/11/2010 12:23 PM

(WITH VIDEO) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul has returned to his comfort zone this week, talking with friendly conservative hosts who spent almost as much time agreeing with him as they did asking questions.

On Monday, Paul talked economic theory with Walter Williams, a professor from George Mason University, who ended the interview by telling Paul, “I wish you the best for the sake of our nation.”

Rand Paul speaks at GOP unity rally

Paul appeared later that day on Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox News, who asked him, among other things, to clarify whether his campaign went through a “staff shake-up.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Paul spoke by phone to Sean Hannity for his radio program. Hannity raised the issue of Paul’s highly publicized comments about the Civil Rights Act, in which Paul said he questioned whether government should tell private businesses how to operate.

Hannity told Paul that when he first saw the news coverage of those comments he couldn’t believe a candidate would call for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act but then went back to hear Paul’s original interview, in which Paul never said he wanted to repeal the 46-year-old law.

And Thursday night, Paul appeared in-studio on Hannity’s Fox News program, where the two essentially repeated the interview from earlier in the week.

There, Paul led off and peppered the more than eight-minute interview with some of his signature lines about the economy and the state of the government.

“I think there’s a debt bomb ticking in our country,” he said.

“I’ve got the same concern,” Hannity responded.

Paul capitalized on his national media appearances — as well as his well-known political name as son of 2008 GOP presidential candidate and Texas congressman Ron Paul — during the Republican primary. He regularly made the rounds on cable television, but halted that two weeks ago after a firestorm of coverage about his Civil Rights Act comments.

Jim Host, a Republican and founder of Host Communications, said Paul may not have “gotten very good advice” to keep appearing on those programs immediately after the controversial comments because he seemed to keep digging himself deeper into controversy.

“I don’t think he needs to stop doing national media,” said Host, who told cn|2 Politics he isn’t endorsing in the U.S. Senate race. “I just think he needs to stop and think what his answers are.”

Here’s what Host had to say about Paul and the race:

Trey Grayson, the Republican secretary of state who lost to Paul by 24 points in the primary, said Paul did gain an advantage in the primary by hitting the national media circuit, which as he has now seen can be “a two-edged sword.”

“We all talk too much sometimes … At the end of the day, he’s got to speak to the voters of Kentucky. He doesn’t need to speak to the viewers of MSNBC around the country,” Grayson told cn|2 Politics. Here’s what Grayson had to say about it:

In the end, Paul plans on talking about the issues that voters pegged as their top priorities — spending, cutting taxes and limiting government, said David Adams, Paul’s campaign chairman. Whether that’s to national talk-show hosts, Kentucky reporters or groups of voters, that was and remains his approach, Adams said.

- Reported by Ryan Alessi with video produced by Holly Thompson


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