Rand Paul, radio host spar over former aide

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) lashed out at a radio host for pressing the senator on a former aide who previously argued that Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth's heart was "in the right place."


"Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me?" Paul said during an interview Tuesday with NPR's “On Point.” 

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On the show, Paul was pressed about the former aide, who spent years as a shock jock called the "Southern Avenger" before working with and co-writing a book with the senator. During his time as a radio host, Hunter made a number of pro-secessionist and neo-Confederate arguments. He resigned from Paul's office in July. 

"On Point's" John Harwood asked Paul about the "pretty strong association" he had with Hunter. He also cited an argument in The Economist that said libertarian politicians have increased their prominence with the help of "racist and nativist movements."

In response, Paul said that much of Hunter's arguments "were stupid" but that the media's portrayal of Hunter was unfair. 

"I mean, that won’t make for much of an interview. ... I don't accept all of that, and I don't really need to spend the time going through and talking about that," said Paul. 

Paul said he was happy to instead talk about issues he stands for rather than responding to every criticism that comes his way. Harwood defended himself saying he had been, in fact, asking relevant questions. 

"Well you're not. You think you want to dwell on something, that you want to bring up critical articles from people who don't like me and don't support any libertarian ideals," Paul said. 

"Why don't we talk about what libertarian Republicanism means and what it would do to the party?” he continued. “Let's talk about some issues. Let's talk indefinite detention; let's talk about aid to Egypt; let's talk about repatriation of foreign capital so we can redouble our infrastructure, which the president asked for last week. Those might be some pertinent topics other than doing ad hominem on me."