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News Link • Politics: Republican Campaigns

Kentucky GOP urges Rand Paul to avoid national spotlight

By HALIMAH ABDULLAH AND BETH MUSGRAVE var comments_story_id = 1024101;

In public, Senate candidate Rand Paul's Republican colleagues have tried to contextualize his controversial comments about anti-discrimination laws and the Obama administration's handling of the Gulf Coast oil spill, but privately they bemoan the political newcomer's gaffes and wish he'd focus less on the national media spotlight and more on Kentucky and the economy.

"In any campaign there's going to be a few bumps," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Paul didn't return calls requesting comment.

In an indication that he was heeding advice to limit his national exposure, Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of NBC's "Meet the Press," Tweeted late Friday afternoon that Paul said he was having "a tough week" and was trying to cancel his scheduled appearance on the show this Sunday. According to Fischer, such cancellations are rare, and only Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia have ever nixed planned appearances.

Paul's problems began in an interview Wednesday night on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" in which he told the liberal host that, based on his belief in limited government, private businesses shouldn't be forced to abide by civil rights laws. After the uproar Thursday, Paul issued a statement saying that he abhors discrimination, backs the 1964 Civil Rights Act and wouldn't support its repeal.

In an appearance Friday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America," Paul called President Barack Obama's handling of the oil spill anti-business and "really un-American," and said of the oil spill, which killed 11 people, and a mining accident last month in Kentucky that killed two miners, "Maybe sometimes accidents happen."

On the eve of a post-election Republican "unity" rally in the state, Kentucky politicos are watching anxiously to see what, if anything, Paul's handling of this very early campaign crisis says about his performance in the general election.

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1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

1. My first thought too.  The national media is not your friend, nor do they have a vote. 

2.  Evan Mecham.  Gov. Mecham was elected in Arizona fair and square, but on a fluke three-way race.  He had promised in 7 detailed campaign newspaper mailings to households throughout the state details of his proposed massive budget cuts, taxcuts and investigations into official corruption. [google AZSCAM for example]

Reaction from the political machine was immediate: "Oh, hell no, Mecham has got to go!!!!"  While the state paper, The Arizona Republic" went so far as to literally make quotes up attributed to Mecham to destroy him, Gov.Mecham was pretty adept at providing damaging quotes on his own particularly to the nation press -- who didn't have a vote.  If he had stuck to his promises and focused on his stated agenda, he possibly could have survived a term.  Possibly.

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