Rand Paul went for a double-whammy in an interview over the weekend.
Asked to address the scandal enveloping his rival, Paul dredged up one of the GOP’s favorite attacks against President Obama — but a reporter made sure the Kentucky Republican gave the whole picture.
Paul told the Arizona Republic that the George Washington Bridge scandal currently dogging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) resonates because “people don’t want their officials to use government against them.”
He then followed the lead of his fellow Republicans by bringing up the controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service.
“A good example of this is the IRS scandal. President Obama used the IRS — or is alleged to have used the IRS — to go after conservative groups and tea party groups —” Paul said.
“And progressives,” the off-screen reporter chimed in, forcing Paul to acknowledge both sides of the IRS ordeal.
“Yeah, nobody likes it,” Paul said.
“Nobody likes the idea of using government against us for political reasons. I think that’s what’s being addressed here and I think that’s why it’s a bigger issue than just traffic. If it is true, if it looks like someone who won an election is punishing people they beat in the election, that leaves a really bad taste in people’s mouths.”
Although he’s gone out of his way to criticize Christie in the past, Paul has been largely reticent about the bridge scandal. He said very little when asked about the matter last week.
“I don’t know who emailed who and who works for whom,” Paul said. “I have been in traffic before though and I know how angry I am when I’m in traffic and I’ve always wondered, ‘Who did this to me.'”
Many of Christie’s defenders have tried to deflect attention from the bridge scandal by invoking the IRS debacle, but the comparison ignores the fact that the agency flagged both liberal and conservative groups.