Rand Paul Struggles To Explain Why He’s Supporting McConnell (AUDIO)

AP

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is embarrassed to be supporting Mitch McConnell for re-election, and he can barely hide it.

In a radio interview posted to YouTube on Saturday, the conservative freshman was asked by an incredulous Glenn Beck why he’s endorsing the Senate Republican leader.

After an awkward pause, Paul tried to change the subject.

“Um … I’m here in Texas today to endorse Don Huffines,” he said.

Beck burst into laughter. Paul laughed with him, and then took a stab at answering the question. But he couldn’t muster up a single nice thing to say about his fellow Kentuckian and leader of his party.

“Uhh, because he asked me,” Paul said. “He asked me when there was nobody else in the race. And I said yes.”

“Well, Al Gore has asked me to change my opinion on global warming and I don’t do that,” Beck quipped.

The two subsequently moved on to other topics. Watch the interview below.

It’s an awkward situation for Paul because tea party conservatives are rallying around Matt Bevin, the GOP challenger seeking to oust McConnell in the primary. McConnell is unpopular back home and distrusted among the right, segments of which see him as more power-hungry than devoted to conservative causes.

McConnell and Paul have a complicated history. The Republican leader supported Paul’s Republican opponent, Trey Grayson, in the Kentucky primary in 2010. Paul trounced him. This cycle, McConnell tapped Jesse Benton, a former top aide to Paul and his father, Ron Paul, to run his re-election campaign. Last August, Benton was caught on tape telling a conservative activist that “I’m sorta holding my nose for two years” until the campaign is over. McConnell and Benton made light of the matter.

UPDATE: 4:52 PM EST

In response to this article, Rand Paul released a statement to TPM explaining why he supports McConnell.

“Mitch McConnell is an important ally and a conservative voice in Washington for the people of Kentucky,” Paul said. “The commonwealth is stronger because of his service and I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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