While the thoroughbreds raced around the track Saturday at Churchill Downs, Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) mind was on an entirely different kind of race.
Paul had invited billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch to tag along for the festivities at the Kentucky Derby, according to the New York Times, possibly in an attempt to court favor for a 2016 presidential run.
“I’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby,” Murdoch told the Times. “I said absolutely. It’s a good thing for me. He’s a very interesting man.”
The afternoon was filled with bourbon and small talk like this:
Mr. Murdoch asked Kelley Paul if she wanted a drink and then inquired about her three children.
“Do you have children?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said. “But I’ve been married too often. But I have two boys and four girls.”
“You have one son who is involved in the media business?” Mr. Paul asked.
“Two, both of them. They were going to form a team,” he said, his voice trailing off.
Last month, Murdoch laid out his top choices for 2016 in an interview with Fortune: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). Paul was at the tail end of the billionaire’s list as a person “whom I agree with on a great number of things but disagree strongly on some things — too strongly perhaps to vote for him.”
At Saturday’s races Murdoch sounded a bit keener on Paul. Although he didn’t seem impressed that the senator started his career as an eye doctor in a town with a population of 50,000, he did say that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had benefitted from Paul’s endorsement, which he called a “smart move for everybody.”
Those were kinder words than he had for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) presidential prospects.
“He’ll be a very strong, fighting candidate in the primaries, but there will be more and more stuff coming out, I think,” Murdoch told the Times in an interview. “Not him but, you know, on his aides. There will be more stories.”