Politics & Policy

Candidate Rand Paul Is Already Squabbling With Interviewers over Whether He’s Flip-Flopped

A day into Rand Paul’s campaign for the presidency, the Kentucky senator has already given his first contentious interview. Appearing on Today from New Hampshire this morning, Paul butted heads with host Savannah Guthrie over her characterization of his views and her approach to interview questions.

Guthrie irked Paul when she brought up the senator’s past comments about Iran not being a threat, and his statements in support of ending aid to Israel and drastically cutting defense spending. Paul complained that rather than asking him if he had changed his positions on these matters, Guthrie simply declared that Paul had flip-flopped.

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“Why don’t we let me explain instead of talking over me, okay?” he said. “Before we go through a litany of things you say I’ve changed on, why don’t you ask me a question — ‘Have I changed my opinion?’ That would be sort of a better way to approach an interview.”

“You’ve editorialized — let me answer a question,” Paul continued. “You ask me a question and you say, ‘Have your views changed?’ instead of editorializing and saying my views have changed.”

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#related#He eventually explained that he stands by his belief that all nations should ultimately be free of foreign aid, but understands that it must be a gradual process. On the threat of a nuclear Iran, he said there’s “always been a threat of Iran gaining nuclear weapons, and I think that’s greater now than many years ago” when he made those comments in 2007.

“2007 was a long time ago, and events do change over long periods of time, so we’re talking about 8 years ago,” Paul said. “We’re talking about a time when I wasn’t running for office and I was helping someone else run for office.” (At the time, Paul was on the campaign trail for his father, former Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul.)

— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

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