McConnell to Rand Paul: Stay out of the spotlight

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday gave some advice to his state's GOP Senate candidate, Rand Paul: Avoid the national media spotlight. 

Paul had a rough week after he won the GOP nomination over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson Tuesday night. 

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"My advice to him would be to speak to the people who are going to be actually voting in this election," McConnell said on CNN. "I think he's said quite enough for the time being in terms of national press coverage."

McConnell — who endorsed Grayson late in the primary — officially announced his support for Paul last week, but offered tough advice to lower his profile.

The libertarian-minded Paul on Wednesday questioned the legality of the portions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which ended sanctioned racial discrimination. On Thursday, he said President Barack Obama's criticism of oil giant BP, which is responsible for the massive Gulf oil spill, "sounds really un-American." Amid the fallout on Friday, Paul became only the third guest ever to cancel an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

On "Meet the Press," National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said it was right for Paul to nix his spot and spend the weekend talking to voters.

Paul is the son of libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who ran for president in 2008, attracting a small base of loyal supporters. His son, an eye doctor, helped campaign for him.

The top Senate Republican said he spoke to Paul about his view of the Civil Rights Act. McConnell would not disclose exactly what he told the political newcomer but he did offer a glimpse.

"I was here in the summer of '63, when Martin Luther King gave his "I Have A Dream Speech." I observed it," he said. "I was here as a summer intern in the office of a Republican senator from Kentucky who helped break the filibuster against the civil rights bill. I think it was one of the major accomplishments of that generation. And it's something that we're all proud of and is accepted policy in our government — in our country, throughout our country, certainly, in 2010."

Cross-posted from the Briefing Room