Rand Paul, engulfed in controversy over his views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act 24 hours after he won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, canceled his scheduled appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” His campaign spokesman “said he was exhausted and just doesn’t want to rehash the civil rights stuff anymore.
Rachel Maddow’s Wednesday night interview of Paul on MSNBC received more than 500,000 online video views in just 24 hours, according to an MSNBC spokesman. On Friday in an appearance on Good Morning America and again on CNN , Paul was coy about not getting a honeymoon from the media after his victory in the Kentucky primary and set the record straight about his views on the civil rights act.
Protesters carried signs outside Kentucky’s Republican Party headquarters decrying Paul’s comments on civil rights Saturday while GOP leaders met inside to pledge their support for the candidate. Hundreds of Paul supporters also gathered in Frankfort on Saturday to show their support for the first-time candidate.
Michael Steele, the first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Paul’s criticism of provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act arose from the candidate’s libertarian philosophy but “his philosophy is misplaced in these times.” Steele made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows and told the “Fox News Sunday” show, “I think in this case Rand Paul’s philosophy got in the way of reality.”
Steele also told ABC’s “This Week” that he wasn’t comfortable with Paul’s views on the civil rights law.
Paul began the race as a longshot for the nomination to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning, a 78-year-old former major league pitcher who opted not to seek a third term.