Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) still thinks former President Bill Clinton’s ’90s-era affair with a White House intern was deplorable, even if he concedes the scandal “doesn’t really apply” to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Paul accused Bill Clinton of “predatory behavior” on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” and said the scandal could factor into a potential Hillary Clinton presidential bid even if it wasn’t her fault.
In a Tuesday interview with Politico, the Kentucky Republican emphasized that he didn’t dredge Bill Clinton’s past up himself. Rather, he had been asked about his wife’s critical remark about the former president in Vogue magazine.
“It’s not as if I’m bringing this up 20 years later. I was asked a direct question,” he said. “However, if I’m asked a direct question, I’ll usually answer it. And I think that one of the things that have moved forward, one of the things that was rotten about the old patriarchal system we did have, was that bosses took advantage of young women in the workplace.”
“And I think Democrats tried to make Bill Clinton out [as], ‘Oh, just a guy who has a lot of affairs,'” he added. “But several of these were in the workplace.”
Paul also told Politico that Bill Clinton’s past “doesn’t really apply” to his wife, whose name is floated daily as a potential 2016 Democratic nominee for president.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) blasted Paul on Tuesday for suggesting the Monica Lewinsky scandal could affect a hypothetical Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
“I think I can speak for most women to say that I found what he said infuriating. I think most women understand they should not be held accountable for the behavior of their husbands,” the Missouri Democrat told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “You know, frankly it was a long time ago. our country did very well under the leadership of Bill Clinton.”
“I think Rand Paul is grasping, trying to show that he can be tough and win the presidential nomination,” she added.
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.