Politics & Government

Rand Paul blames media for uproar over Civil Rights Act comments

FRANKFORT — In response to widespread criticism about his comments on two national media shows concerning his views on the impact of anti-discrimination laws on private businesses, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul released a statement Wednesday saying he supports the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and would not support repealing it.

Paul came under attack by Democrats and U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Jack Conway for saying that anti-discrimination laws should only apply to public institutions.

To try to quell the firestorm, Paul issued a statement saying he abhors racism and blames the media for the uproar.

"I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person." Paul said in his statement.

"I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation.

"Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Paul's rival in the Nov. 2 general election, Conway, said in a statement Thursday that Paul "is running for a narrow political philosophy that has dangerous consequences for working families, veterans, students, the disabled, and those without a voice in the halls of power."

Paul's responded by saying: "My opponent's statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.

"Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

"As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years."

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