Rand Paul: Only I Can Say I Misspoke

by Jonathan Strong

Senator Rand Paul gently chastised his former campaign manager Jesse Benton for telling reporters in Kentucky that Paul “misspoke” in his praise for Matt Bevin, Senator Mitch McConnell’s primary challenger.

“Only I can speak for me, I think. I probably do misspeak but only I can say it if I misspeak,” a laughing Paul tells National Review Online.

The kerfuffle started when Paul told reporters in Louisville that Bevin is a “good, honest, Christian man.”

Then Benton, now a top enforcer for McConnell, told reporters that Paul “misspoke a little.”

“I don’t know exactly why those words came out of Senator Paul’s mouth,” Benton said, according to the Associated Press, adding that Bevin “does have a long record of stretching and bending the truth to suit his purposes.”

Paul explains: “I try to say nice things about other Republicans from my state. I have endorsed Senator McConnell and support Senator McConnell, but I also don’t have anything bad to say about his opponent.”

And as for Bevin’s character, his remarks were no mistake. “I know him and from what I’ve seen of him I wouldn’t attack his character,” Paul says.  

Asked about Paul’s remarks, Benton says in an e-mail that Paul “simply doesn’t have all the facts”:

Rand is a gentleman and is always looking for the best in people. I will say that Rand simply doesn’t have all the facts, and that as you get to know Matt Bevin, you see how comfortable Bevin is at stretching the truth and inventing facts. But it’s not Rand’s job to know that, nor is it his job to attack Bevin. We have Rand’s friendship and support, and that’s all we would ever ask for. 

UPDATE: Bevin campaign spokesman Rachel Semmel responds:

McConnell is not telling the truth about Matt Bevin. As Kentuckians learn more of where McConnell stands on the issues of bailouts, amnesty, and funding ObamaCare, the more they are turned off by McConnell’s pathetic efforts to avoid the issues affecting voters and are flocking to Matt’s campaign.