At an event marking the five-year anniversary of the tea party movement, Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday continued his denunciation of rocker Ted Nugent’s "derogatory" and "offensive" remarks about President Barack Obama.
"We can disagree with the president without calling him names," the Kentucky Republican said Thursday
, The Hill reported. "I disagree almost all the time, but I don't call him names and I am polite to him when I meet him."
An outspoken critic of Obama, Democrats, and even fellow Republicans with whom Paul has philosophical and policy disagreements, Paul cautioned the crowd that resorting to name-calling demeans the party and hijacks its message.
"I'm just saying there are people out in public who are taking away from our message and let's try not to be a part of that," he said. "Our message has to be a happy message, one of optimism, one of growth."
One of the first to call Nugent out for referring to the president as a "subhuman mongrel," Paul, via his Twitter account, also called for Nugent to apologize.
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The Washington Post suggests that Paul, considered likely to run for president in 2016, is using the incident to position himself
as a Republican candidate with a broader appeal than Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"Paul has called for 'a new Republican party,'" Post writer Wesley Lowery opines. "And while it remains to be seen if the 'New GOP' can earn the buy-in of the electorate, one thing is clear: Paul is actively working to convince voters that he should be its face."
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