Paul's threat to cancel the Oct. 25 debate with Conway follows the re-emergence of embarrassing allegations about Paul while he was a student at Baylor University in the 1980s. According to an article published last summer in GQ magazine, Paul belonged to the NoZe Brotherhood, a secret society that had been banned on the Texas university's campus because it mocked Christianity and the Baptist faith. Baylor is a Baptist school.
"Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible 'a hoax,' that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ?" Conway's campaign asks in a new statewide ad.
Paul has called the claim "ridiculous" and said he was "never involved with kidnapping." During a Saturday debate, Conway repeated the allegation against Paul--triggering one of the angriest exchanges of the 2010 campaign season. "You know, Jack, you know how we tell when you're lying? It's when your lips are moving. OK?" Paul sputtered. "You're going to stand over there and accuse me of a crime for 30 years ago from some anonymous source?" He added: "Jack, have you no decency? Have you no shame?"
Paul describes himself as a "pro-life Christian" and says his faith is "something very personal to me, my wife, my kids."
In an interview with ABC News, Conway said that Social Security represented an "area of stark contrast in the race." During the course of the campaign, Paul has suggested raising the retirement age and Conway has alleged his opponent believes Social Security is unconstitutional.
It's a claim that Paul denied as recently as Sunday night: "I've never challenged it and I do not challenge the constitutionality of it," Paul said at a debate.
PAUL: But here's the problem. You say you want new lending from small banks, but you support the banking regulation bill. The problem was with government banks--Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac--bad policy at the Federal Reserve caused the recession, caused the credit crunch. But yet Jack supports--President Obama supports--the new banking regulations, which every bank in Kentucky will tell you it wasn't our problem. No banks failed in Kentucky. But it's much harder to get a loan in Kentucky now.
PAUL:˙As a physician and a father, I've always been concerned about drug abuse. And that was actually a misquote; what I actually said was I don't think people are concerned about where the funding comes from. They want the problem tackled. There's always a debate between how much is federal and how much is state. All I said is that like mos problems, I think the more local control, the better. The more the decisions are made by sheriffs and local communities, the better chance we have of fixing the problem.
Q: What about Operate UNITE, a federal program which has spent $16 million over th last two years to fight drug abuse in the state of Kentucky? Would you shut that down?
PAUL: No, but what I would say is here's the problem. [Conway] wants to talk about drugs all the time. Under his watch the meth labs have doubled in the state.
PAUL: It's a combination of federal, state and local regulations. Which way do we want to shift the debate. Do we want more federal or more local? We now have an EPA that is writing rules, saying, "If Congress doesn't pass greenhouse emissions testing, we will simply do it on our own." I think the arrogance of unelected bureaucrats to say that they create law needs to come to an end. We need to say to unelected bureaucrats, "You do not make regulations. You do not write regulations."
CONWAY: I'm against cap and trade, too. Always have been.
Q: Well, that's not true. You supported the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill back in 2009.
CONWAY: No, I didn't. I have said I'm always going to protect coal.
PAUL: It's incredibly foolhardy to have a trillion-dollar stimulus and then another trillion dollars into Obamacare. The thing about government also is they notoriously underestimate the cost of things. What the Democrats tell us will be a trillion- dollar health care could turn into a $3 trillion nightmare, a drag on the economy. It's already causing unemployment in Kentucky. My health insurance went up 15 percent since Obamacare was passed. What is going to happen is it's going to hurt the economy and hurt jobs in Kentucky.
PAUL:˙ We had 45 million people nationwide that were not receiving or didn't have health insurance. A third of them were in the country illegally and were illegal aliens. And I don't think we should be giving illegal aliens health insurance.
Q: No, that's not true. Illegal aliens are not covered by "Obamacare."
PAUL:˙I know, but it's illegal to ask them if they're illegal, so it's sort of a Catch-22. The Republicans kept introducing an amendment to Obamacare to say, "You can ask if they're illegal aliens," and the Democrats kept shooting it down, saying, "No, you can't ask whether they're here legally or illegally."
Q: You say very little about Attorney General Conway on the campaign trail. Now's your chance.
PAUL: He needs to either defend his president or run away. So far he's running away from Pres. Obama and the agenda. He supports Obamacare. He supported repealing the tax cuts before he was against it. Cap and trade, he's been on both sides of the issue.
Paul replied, "I didn't know it was Wendell Ford's seat. I thought it was the people of Kentucky's seat."
The response mirrored an exchange that occurred in MA earlier this year, when a debate moderator made a reference to the late Ted Kennedy's senate seat and Scott Brown, the insurgent Republican, shot back: "It's not the Kennedy's seat. It's not the Democrat's seat. It's the people's seat."
"The people's seat" became the rallying cry for Brown, who won the race. The phrase neatly captured the zeitgeist of a year in which insurgent grass-roots candidates across the country have been a forceful presence.
Wendell Ford, a Democrat, holds a Kennedy-like place in the Kentucky political firmament. He represented Kentucky for 24 years in the Senate, & served as the state's governor.
PAUL:˙ Well, you don't do anything to people who are currently receiving Medicare or Social Security. But we do have to admit that we have the baby boom generation getting ready to retire. There will have to be changes for the younger generation.
Q:˙So you would raise the retirement age?
PAUL:˙For younger people, yes.
Q:˙So higher deductibles or higher premiums, for people 55 or younger?
PAUL:˙Yes. You're going to have to have eligibility changes for the younger people. And I think all younger people, if they're honest and will admit to it and have an adult discussion and not demagogue the issue, will admit that younger people will have to have different rules.
PAUL: First of all, you look at whose money is it. It's the people's money who earned the money. And we give up some to pay taxes. So I'm not seeing it as a cost to government. But I will immediately introduce bills to reduce spending so I think we should offset it.
Q: There's no way you're going to get $4 trillion by spending cuts.
PAUL: I will introduce legislation that will balance the budget. We will have a balanced budget amendment introduced if I'm elected. But about the Bush tax cuts--businesses have made calculations on these for 5 or 10 years. Business needs predictability. If you take away these Bush tax cuts, if you allow Obama to have the largest tax increase in our history, it will be a disaster for the economy.
Paul was asked whether public sentiment might change his mind about supporting federal fundin for drug programs, such as Operation UNITE. That program, paid for with federal funds, coordinates law enforcement agencies for undercover drug busts and provides resources for treatment mostly in Eastern Kentucky. He said a candidate should stick to his positions.
Paul has said he favors handling the issue locally rather than sending tax dollars to Washington that come back in the form of Operation UNITE or other programs. Earlier this week, he held a press conference at the Wingshadow Lodge, a facility aimed at helping men recover from addition. The facility is part of the faith-based Teen Challenge program.
Jack Conway has been hammering Paul on the issue of drugs for the last two weeks as he seeks to paint Paul as out-of-touch.
Paul said he prefers local initiatives over federally based responses to combat drug trafficking. Paul has said he would cut federal funding for undercover drug investigations and drug treatment programs in Appalachia, a hotbed for marijuana growers and drug dealers selling prescription pills and methamphetamines. He told The Associated Press recently that he doesn't think drug abuse is "a real pressing issue" in the Senate race, suggesting that voters are more concerned about fiscal and social concerns.
Paul has called drug sentences of 10 to 20 years too harsh. While he has said he opposes the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, he believes it should be up to individual states to decide the issue.
The above quotations are from 2010 Kentucky Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Kentucky Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Rand Paul.
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