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GOP watch: Rand Paul walks it back

"Paul told CNN he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a statement he declined to make one day earlier" on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow asked: "Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?" Paul answered: "Yes. I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things freedom requires." 

The Washington Post: "Two days after becoming the newest symbol of "tea party" politics, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky thrust himself, his party and the movement into an uncomfortable conversation about the federal government's role in prohibiting racial discrimination and about a period of history that most politicians consider beyond debate."

The New York Times says Paul "provided Democrats an opportunity to portray him as extreme and renewed concern among Republicans that his views made him vulnerable in a general election."       

The ol' everyone's-jealous-of-you, card. "Rep. Ron Paul said Thursday the criticism of his son Rand Paul's comments regarding the 1964 Civil Rights Act is 'unfair' and dismissed the fracas as an attempt by the left to hurt his son's Senate campaign. 'I think it's contrived because he's done so well and the left has to knock him down,' the Texas Republican said." He added, "Politics can sometime be nasty and I think there is a lot of resentment because he all of a sudden became a star." 

Paul found few defenders on Capitol Hill though. Even Jeff Sessions had this to say, "I think that was settled a long time ago and the country is better off. "Things that welcome the public should welcome everybody… I think he's wrong."
 
And Mitch McConnell's spokesman said this: "Among Sen. McConnell's most vivid memories and most formative events in his career was watching his boss Sen. John Sherman Cooper help pull together the votes to break the filibuster and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He has always considered the law a monumental achievement for the country and is glad to hear Dr. Paul supports it as well."