Rand Paul: Uh, I Meant ‘Yes’

On the Laura Ingraham show this morning, Rand Paul decided to announce: “Yes, I would have voted for the Civil Rights Act.” (You have to wonder why he couldn’t answer “yes” last night when Rachel Maddow repeatedly asked this very question.)

“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.”

“Sort of a stain?” Is there some question about this?

Paul also says his appearance on the Maddow show was a “mistake,” which is indisputably true, and says he does not favor repealing the Civil Rights Act, which no one accused him of.

Notice, however, that even when he’s trying to walk back his disastrous statements, he still slips in those little weasel phrases that make the far right’s hearts rejoice.

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.”

UPDATE at 5/20/10 12:22:10 pm:

Correction: Democratic opponent Jack Conway did accuse Rand Paul of wanting to repeal the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, on the Chris Matthews show.

Conway said Rand Paul made this statement in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board. If this is the interview Conway references, then his statement is false; the section in question starts at about one hour in, and Rand Paul does not say he wants to repeal either of those historic laws. Instead he does the same waffle dance he did with NPR and Rachel Maddow, including the bits about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rand Paul absolutely is calling into question one of the fundamental tenets of the Civil Rights Act, and that’s bad enough. But I haven’t found a statement from him in which he calls for its repeal.

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