The woman who says she was once blindfolded, tied up, deposited in a creek and asked to worship 'Aqua Buddha' by an impetuous young Rand Paul now says the ad Democrats are using to highlight the incident in an attempt to tear down the Republican Paul in the Kentucky Senate race is "over the top" but essentially true.
Greg Sargent just interviewed
the woman, who has remained anonymous since her tale of her and Paul's undergraduate years at Baylor University first appeared
. She told him she's "disappointed" that Conway is making the tale "into a central issue," but said that fundamentally the story told in Conway's ad is accurate on the facts of the event, if not the intentions of Paul and his compatriot.
"The tone of [the narrator's] voice sounds more ominous than it actually was," she told Sargent. "The way the person is talking, it sounds like [Paul] is some kind of evil-worshipping person who's a little bit more threatening than perhaps he really is."
The woman again characterized the incident as "a hazing prank" and said her reasons for coming forward were not to paint Paul as nefarious, but as someone who may be more than he seems at first glance.
"My whole point in sharing [the episode] was that Randy used to be a different person with different views that have radically changed, and he's not acknowledging that," the woman told Sargent. "That is why I shared it in the first place."
Though she says her story isn't "consequential enough to drive the Senate race," she suggested to Greg that she does agree with one central tenet of Conway's recent campaign strategy, which has centered around using stories from Baylor to, essentially, cast Paul as a phony when it comes to Christian conservativism.
"There was a different side to him at one time and he's pretending that it never existed," If he would just acknowledge it, it would all go away and it wouldn't matter anymore."
Here's a look at Conway's ad, based on the woman's Aqua Buddha tale:
And here's Paul's response ad:
The TPM Poll Average shows Paul leading the race 46.9-41.7.