Sen. Rand Paul snapped at an NPR radio interviewer Tuesday, when he was asked about an article suggesting that libertarian politicians ally themselves with racist movements.
"Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me?" the Kentucky Republican snapped at NPR's "On Point"
host John Harwood.
"I don't accept all of that and I don't really need to or spend the time talking about all of that," Paul said in response. "If you want to talk about issues and what I stand for, I'm happy to, but I'm not going to really go through an interview reciting or respond to every yahoo in the world who wants to throw up a canard."
Paul, a strong supporter of the tea party movement, was reacting to Harwood's reading of excerpts from a recent article in the Economist about the growing influence of libertarianism in the Republican Party, something Paul was invited to speak about in the "On Point" interview.
The senator also reacted angrily when Harwood asked about his association with former aide Jack Hunter, who was forced to resign from his Senate staff job over comments he made in his previous career as a radio jock in favor of secession and the Confederacy.
"What conclusion should people draw from the presence of that former shock jock Jack Hunter on your staff, who co-authored a book with you [and] who was identified [on radio] as the 'Southern Avenger?'" Harwood asked.
Paul acknowledged that Hunter left his staff
because "there are a lot of problems with things he wrote." But he insisted that Hunter was not a racist and had been treated unfairly by the media.
"It's also unfair to paint a broad brush and say that's who I am, when I should be judged by the things I'm doing," he added. "There is no greater defender truly of minority rights . . . than myself, because I will stand up there with the most progressive members of the caucus in the Senate and say you know that civil liberties are important and they're important particularly because of some of the egregious things that have happened in America's history."
As Harwood pushed the issue of Hunter's record further, Paul cut him off again.
"Why don't we talk about Rand Paul, I'm the one doing the interview," he told Harwood. "You can go ahead and beat up on a ex-employee of mine, but why don't we talk about Rand Paul and what I'm trying to do to grow the party, and then we might have an intelligent discussion."
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