LOUISVILLE — A debate filled with unabashed personal attacks concluded Sunday night with Republican Rand Paul briskly brushing past Democrat Jack Conway, refusing to shake the hand of an opponent who raised questions about his religious beliefs.
"Jack, have you no decency? Have you no shame?" Paul asked Conway during the fourth of five scheduled debates between Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates.
Paul said Conway's actions were "a disgrace" that should disqualify Conway from the heated contest Kentuckians will decide Nov. 2.
Paul's initial comments in the debate focused on a Conway TV ad that began airing over the weekend that says that while in college at Baylor University, Paul was in a secret brotherhood that mocked Christianity. It also alleged that he tied up a woman while in college and forced her to bow down to a god named "Aqua Buddha."
The ad is based on articles about Paul's days at Baylor that have appeared in GQ magazine, The Washington Post and Politico.com in recent weeks and months.
The ad has caused the race to descend "into the gutter," said Paul, who described himself as "a pro-life Christian." He recited biblical Scripture from the Book of Mark, asking Conway what does it profit a man to gain the world if he loses his soul?
Conway said the ad raises legitimate questions about Paul's values and repeatedly challenged Paul to answer two questions: Why did he join a college society, the NoZe Brotherhood, that mocked Christianity, and when is it appropriate to tie up a woman and make her bow down to "Aqua Buddha"?
Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon making his first bid for public office, did not answer Conway's questions. Instead, he suggested people could tell Conway, the state's attorney general, was lying because his lips were moving.
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