Sen. Rand Paul, who has been in a bit of a tiff recently with the Clintons, says that any Democrat who has raised campaign money with former President Clinton should return the cash to protest his sexual behavior in the White House.
Speaking on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program, in an interview airing Sunday, Mr. Paul said Democrats are being hypocritical by criticizing Republicans as waging a war on women while at the same time embracing Mr. Clinton, who was impeached for lying about a sexual relationship with a White House intern.
“They can’t have it both ways. And so I really think that anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back,” Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, said. “If they want to take position on women’s rights, by all means do. But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.”
Mr. Paul recently called Mr. Clinton a “sexual predator” for his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The House voted to impeach Mr. Clinton in 1998, making him the second president in history to face such a dishonor. The Senate voted not to convict him.
Mr. Clinton remains popular with Democratic voters, and even attended a Senate Democratic retreat this week to talk policy and strategy. And he remains a popular fundraiser on the campaign trail.
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Some Democrats have sprung to the Clintons’ defense, including Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who said it was “infuriating” for Mr. Paul to cite Mr. Clinton as a response to the GOP’s policies toward women. She also said it was unfair to tarnish Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is pondering whether to run for president in 2016, with the actions of her husband.
“I think most women understand that they should not be held accountable for the behaviors of their husbands. And you know, frankly, it was a long time ago, and our country did very well under the leadership of Bill Clinton,” Ms. McCaskill told MSNBC.
Mr. Paul, though, said in his interview this week that Ms. McCaskill, who is supporting Mrs. Clinton in 2016, didn’t always feel that way. In 2008, she supported then-Sen. Barack Obama over Mrs. Clinton and commented that she wouldn’t want her daughter to be near Mr. Clinton.
Mr. Paul said Mr. Clinton’s settlement with Paula Jones in 1999, in which he paid $850,000 to settle Ms. Jones’ claims of sexual harassment, is an admission of guilt by the former president. He also said Mr. Clinton has “convicted” by the public for harassment with Ms. Lewinsky.
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams said Friday that Mr. Paul’s voting record on women’s pay belies his stated concern for them.
“If his claims of concern for women are sincere he should start by rethinking his opposition to the Violence Against Women’s Act, paycheck fairness and the right of women to make their own health care decisions,” she said.
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Mr. Paul is considering his own bid for president in 2016.
That’s also the year his first term in the Senate expires, and he said he is looking at Kentucky’s laws to see if he can run for both races simultaneously.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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