Rand Paul's week began with his surprise
victory in Kentucky's GOP primary
for the Senate but it's ending on a
less positive note. After his unusual views
on the Civil Rights Act
set off backlash and fierce debate
about whether Paul is ready for prime time, the candidate made the
decision himself by cancelling
his appearance on the most
prime time political talk show of all, Meet The Press. Here's what
happened, why it's a big deal, and why he did it.
Happened Meet The
Press producer Betsy Fischer tells the Washington Post's Greg
Sargent, "He committed to coming on on Wednesday. We got an email from
his press secretary [Friday] afternoon saying that he wanted to cancel.
... We tried to impress upon them that this is a big deal. The only
other two people to cancel have been Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar
of Saudi Arabia. ... Obviously they've had a tough week -- we all know
that. ... I hope he'll reconsider and keep his commitment."
Withering Under First Real Media Inquiry The Atlantic's Joshua Green says that Paul is
just now encountering "an aggressive, experienced press corps that
appropriately had its own agenda and was eager to challenge Paul to
elaborate on his views." Green says Kentucky's media has been
"decimated" by cuts and "there is no longer a healthy, aggressive press
corps" that would have discovered Paul's controversial views during the
primary. "As much as I'd have liked to see him Sunday on 'Meet the
Press,' I think he probably made a wise move in backing out."
Tired of Civil Rights Act 'Bruising' The Washington Post's David Weigel reports, "After
two days of bruising media coverage about his views on elements of the
1964 Civil Rights Act, the campaign of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate
Rand Paul tells me it has canceled the candidate's upcoming appearance
on NBC's 'Meet the Press.' ... 'Rand did Good Morning America today, set
the record straight, and now we are done talking about it,' said
campaign spokesman Jesse Benton. 'No more national interviews on the
- ...This Media Strategy Won't Work The Washington
Monthly's Steve Benen muses, "If Rand
Paul talks to a national news outlet again sometime over the next six
months, his radical worldview is likely to come up. Will the Republican
campaign try to come up with ground rules for journalists? You can
interview the Senate candidate, just so long as you don't ask about his
views on government? I have no idea how voters in Kentucky will respond
to developments like these, but from a distance, the entire fiasco
appears humiliating -- for Paul, the Tea Party 'movement,' and the
Republican Party of Kentucky."
- Rand Paul Copied Sarah Palin
Playbook Gawker's Ravi Somaiya explains, "Both emerged
from nowhere, became darlings of the right and proceeded to go on
devastating media tours which revealed exactly how extreme their views
were, and how unprepared they both seemed for national office. ... You
cannot question Sarah Palin. It is sexist and/or partisan to do so. You
cannot question Rand Paul, because that counts as an 'attempt
to vilify us for partisan reasons.' Which is why both, after their
disastrous introductions to honest enquiry, now shy away from it."
Their Challenges Differ The Moderate Voice's Robert Stein writes, "unlike
Sarah Palin, Rand Paul’s problem is not that he is clueless about issues
but quite the opposite–he clearly has strong views on every subject.
His recent mots about the 1964 Civil Rights Act infringing the
rights of restaurants and the Obama White House picking on poor BP could
be only the tip of an iceberg of Libertarian outcries over government
suppression of freedom."
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