Remember your college years? The test cramming, the questionable decisions when it came to alcohol, the even more questionable decisions when it came to dating? And who can forget that classic college prank — the one where you kidnap a girl from the swim team, blindfold her, and try to force her to take bong hits before making her kneel in a creek and pray to “Aqua Buddha”?
What’s that you say? You never tried that one? Well you must not have attended college with Rand Paul.
From a new profile of Paul’s college years published by GQ:
The strangest episode of Paul’s time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 (although memories about all of these events are understandably a bit hazy, so the date might be slightly off), when he and a NoZe brother paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul’s teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, “He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They’d been smoking pot.” After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. “They told me their god was ‘Aqua Buddha’ and that I needed to bow down and worship him,” the woman recalls. “They blindfolded me and made me bow down to ‘Aqua Buddha’ in the creek. I had to say, ‘I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.’ At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no.”
Paul’s time at Baylor has become the talk of the Kentucky Senate campaign in recent days, after the Lexington Herald-Leader reminded everyone of the fact that Paul never graduated from the Baptist university in Texas. Paul didn’t graduate because he didn’t have to — his high test scores led Duke to accept him to medical school without a bachelor’s degree.
On the face of it, one might think that being smart enough to go straight to medical school without a college degree might be a positive for any candidate, but Democrats in Kentucky told me over the weekend they consider the “revelation” that he didn’t graduate (Paul’s campaign has never suggested that he did, but Democrats say it never pointed out that he didn’t either) to be a strike against him. Democrats say that the fact that Paul’s campaign literature says he “attended” Baylor will make voters think twice about Paul’s honesty — and damage his reputation as a straight shooter.
For their part, Republicans dismiss Paul’s lack of a degree from Baylor as a total non-issue. They seem happy to talk at length about the time their nominee for Senate was accepted early into Duke. Now that we know a little of what Paul was actually doing at Baylor, the GOP might be even more interested in talking about the Duke part of Paul’s time as a student.
Read the full GQ piece on Paul’s years at Baylor here.
Late Update: In a statement to TPMDC, Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, dismissed the kidnapping story — but didn’t deny it.
“When Dr. Paul was at Baylor, he competed on the swim team and was active in Young Conservatives of Texas,” Benton said. “National Enquirer-type stories about Dr. Paul’s teenage years should be left to the tabloids where they belong.”
Later Update: The Paul campaign now says they’re considering legal action over the article.