Elections

Rand Paul on snub: 99% of his backers flipping off the media

Where does Rand Paul stand?

Where does Libertarian-leaning Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul stand on ISIS, immigration, the minimum wage and gay marriage? (video by Natalie Fertig and Brittany Peterson)
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Where does Libertarian-leaning Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul stand on ISIS, immigration, the minimum wage and gay marriage? (video by Natalie Fertig and Brittany Peterson)

Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is mad as hell about being excluded from the next Republican presidential debate, and on Thursday, Paul had one word for the media.

Or rather, one finger.

During an interview with ABC News Radio, Paul extended his middle finger to demonstrate the message, he said, that “99 percent of our supporters” are sending to the media for keeping him out of the debate.

Paul did not meet the polling criteria Fox Business Network established for the debate, and he is refusing to participate in the network’s undercard debate.

But after a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll came out after the deadline, showing Paul alone in fifth place, the senator has been on an interview tear, alternately assailing the media and the Republican “establishment” and trying to reclaim a spot on the main stage.

Paul told CNN that “it is a mistake to let the media or the party pre-decide who has a chance and who doesn’t have a chance.”

“We’re going to take our message directly to the people,” he said.

And as CNN later pointed out, Paul’s many media appearances — all of which have centered around his demotion from the prime-time debate — might have introduced him to more voters than the undercard debate would have.

On Wednesday, top Paul adviser Doug Stafford emailed supporters to argue that Paul should be allowed in the main debate, citing Paul’s fundraising and campaign infrastructure as “proof” that Paul is running a “top tier” campaign.

“We deserve to be on stage,” Stafford wrote.

On Thursday, Paul’s supporters were taking to Facebook, urging a boycott of the prime-time debate and promoting an online town hall discussion that the senator plans to hold Thursday night during the debate.

“The revolution will not be televised,” said one promotional item. “Turn off your TV. Watch the real discussion.”

The two or so hours of the political debate you see on TV are just a fraction of what’s become an all-day event for the candidates and the journalists. McClatchy Washington bureau Political Editor Steve “Buzz” Thomma goes behind the scenes of a po

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