Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky acknowledged that he can lose his cool at times in television interviews, saying it’s easier to have a “reasonable conversation” sitting down with someone as opposed to the often-contentious nature of TV.
“I think we could all get better - I mean, I’m not perfect, and we try to do this starting from 7 in the morning ‘till 10 at night some nights,” he said on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” Wednesday evening. “But the thing is is that contentious interviews are not one-sided in the sense that, ‘oh, it’s all my fault that [it’s] a contentious interview.’”
Host Megyn Kelly played two clips of interviews, one from a Wednesday appearance on the “Today” program in which Mr. Paul said to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, “why don’t you let me explain instead of talking over me?” after Ms. Guthrie said he had changed his positions on Iran, foreign aid, and defense spending.
“You’ve editorialized, let me answer a question,” said Mr. Paul, who had officially launched his 2016 presidential campaign the previous day.
Ms. Kelly then played another clip from earlier in the year in which Mr. Paul at one point told CNBC’s Kelly Evans to “shush” and “calm down a bit.”
Mr. Paul responded by saying that “interviews are difficult.”
“And when an interview’s contentious, and when an interview is full of a lot of opinion and editorializing and it’s a long-winded question that’s setting you up to say, ‘well, you know you’ve been beating your wife all these years and when are you going to stop beating your wife?’ it’s very difficult in those contentious interviews and you can also see I don’t think it makes for good TV on both sides,” he said.
“I do lose my cool and I do lose my temper sometime and I should be better at that,” he said, adding that when you’re sitting down with someone it’s easier to have a reasonable conversation.
He did say that he’s not going to “lay down and let Clinton talk over me,” referring to former secretary of state and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“If people start out…basically mischaracterizing your position and then saying ‘well, defend why you’ve changed your position’ when in reality the question should be ‘did I change my position?’ because on all three questions my answer is, ‘no, I didn’t change my position,’” he said.
Mr. Paul said it had nothing to do with the fact that both reporters were female.
“Can I do better? Yes. Am I sometimes thin-skinned? Yes,” he said. “But am I equal opportunity? I mean, I had a tiff with a male reporter today, so it has nothing to do with sexuality. When I think of doing an interview with you, I don’t think whether you’re a man or woman, I think of an intelligent person [who’s] going to ask me questions. I don’t think of who the person is that’s asking the questions.”