Former House Majority Leader Trent Lott — who saw his leadership career end spectacularly after some, er, poorly-timed comments about the South’s segregated past — says the media needed to give Rand Paul a break for bumbling into a discussion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act after winning the Kentucky Republican nomination for Senate.
“I had some sympathy for him because I’ve been there,” Lott told the Daily Caller‘s Jon Ward yesterday.
Lott, who was forced to step down from Senate leadership after his controversial racial past was brought to light following his praise of Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 1948 pro-segreation presidential campaign, said that — like him — Paul was a victim of the “gotcha media.”
“I just think you need to give people a pass on a phrase or a word every now and then,” Lott told the Caller.Lott says that Paul “handled it well” when the media began peppering him with questions about the Civil Rights Act, a conversation that Lott admitted to Paul “opened the door” to.
Now he hopes that the media won’t play favorites.
“I just hope the media will ask just as hostile questions from the left wing kooks, of MoveOn.org and some of these other people,” he told Ward.
Meanwhile, Paul is offering up his own lessons to another Republican in the media spotlight this week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). In an interview with a Kentucky radio station this morning, Paul was asked if Barton should resign his senior Republican seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee after his apology to BP for what he called the “20 billion-dollar shakedown” of the company by the Obama administration.
Paul said he can commiserate.
“I’m not really in a position to know about what they should do to him personally. I do know what it is like to be piled on,” Paul said, according to the Huffington Post. “I do know that people sometimes can go over the top and I think he should be given the chance to explain himself.”