Paul says Conway 'lie' started media storm; also says he favors drilling regulations

06/03/2010 08:45 AM

Rand Paul shakes hands outside GOP headquarters

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul said Thursday that some government regulation is necessary, such as in the case of off-shore oil drilling, and blamed the media firestorm over some of his comments about the Civil Rights Act on his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway.

“The interesting thing about that whole flap is that it started from a lie from Jack Conway. Jack Conway got on MSNBC and said I was for repealing the Civil Rights Act, which is not my position, has never been my position and basically was a lie,“ Paul told Tony Cruise on WHAS-840 AM in Louisville on Thursday morning. “So you get a politician like Jack Conway, who basically makes up stuff — lies — and then a liberal network just repeated it over and over again.”

It was Paul’s first media appearance of the week as he has cut back his public visibility following the withering national scrutiny over his comments questioning government intrusion into private businesses in legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and American Disabilities Act.

Conway, after his primary win, did say to Kentucky reporters that Paul “says we don’t need a Civil Rights Act” and favored “undoing the Americans with Disabilities Act.” On MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on the day after the primary, Conway said of Paul, “He has stated that he would like to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

But Paul’s issue with those pieces of legislation is more nuanced. Starting in late April during an interview with the Courier-Journal editorial board, Paul said he was uncomfortable with the provision in the Civil Rights Act that says private businesses can’t discriminate against customers based on race or ethnicity. Paul has said he abhors racism and wouldn’t go to a business that discriminated but didn’t think it was government’s place to tell a company how to be run.

On Thursday, Paul sounded much less anti-regulation. Cruise led off the six-and-a-half minute interview by asking Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist and  son of 2008 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, about government’s role with the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I think it’s a great tragedy,” Paul said. “I think we do have to have regulations. And we do have regulations in place but it apparently wasn’t enough. Sometimes even the best of regulations don’t work because something unforeseen happens.”

But he urged leaders “not to pass judgment until we know what happened” and until after the gushing flow of oil is stopped.

- Ryan Alessi

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