Appearing on Laura Ingraham’s radio show this morning, Rand Paul said he regretted his Wednesday appearance with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, in which Paul appeared to waver on whether he thought the government was right to force the desegregation of private businesses during the Civil Rights era.
“It was a poor political decision and probably won’t be happening anytime in the near future,” Paul said of the Maddow appearance:
“Because, yeah, they can play things and want to say, ‘Oh you believed in beating up people that were trying to sit in restaurants in the 1960s.’ And that is such a ridiculous notion and something that no rational person is in favor of. [But] she went on and on about that.”
Paul also told Ingraham that he considered the Civil Rights Act “settled”:
“These are settled issues in the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “I have no intention of bringing up anything related to the Civil Rights Act… I think [segregation] is sort of a stain and blight on our history — so, no, I have never really favored any change in the Civil Rights Act or any of that. But they have seemed to unleash the loony left on me.”
Working on getting a full transcript for you now.
UPDATE: The Paul campaign has issued the following statement:
“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person. I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation. Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.”
“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.”
“My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”
“The issue of civil rights is one with a tortured history in this country. We have made great strides, but there is still work to be done to ensure the great promise of Liberty is granted to all Americans.”
“This much is clear: The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs. Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports. The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product. The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.”
“These attacks prove one thing for certain: the liberal establishment is desperate to keep leaders like me out of office, and we are sure to hear more wild, dishonest smears during this campaign.”
UPDATE II: Just got the audio from the Ingraham appearance. Key question at 8:15:
Laura: “Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act?”
“Yes, because I think the preponderance of the evidence was that we had some abhorrent things going on in our society–segregation, the Jim Crow laws…I think the south had failed and that the federal government did have a role in ending discrimination in all of these practices.”
Among Senator McConnell’s most vivid memories and most formative events in his career was watching his boss Sen. John Sherman Cooper help pull together the votes to break the filibuster and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has always considered the law a monumental achievement for the country and is glad to hear Dr. Paul supports it as well.