Turns out that Rand Paul — who has been incensed over Jack Conway’s suggestion that Paul’s college hijinks are relevant to the Kentucky Senate race — was very recently the candidate making attack ads aimed at the decisions another man made in his college years.
Back in the hotly contested Republican primary, which pitted Paul against establishment pick Trey Grayson, Paul had a field day making an issue out of Grayson’s college-age support for Bill Clinton. Grayson, the current Kentucky Secretary of State, told a group of students in 2008 that when he cast his first presidential ballot in 1992, at age 20, he cast it for Bill Clinton. Most other Kentuckians did, too — Clinton won the state that year, and did it again four years later.
Grayson said he became a Republican later, “when he realized he agreed more often with the GOP on issues.”
As our Eric Kleefeld reported back in February, Paul had a field day with the story, fielding a TV ad calling Grayson and Clinton “dangerous allies” and highlighting the fact that Grayson “admitted to voting for draft-dodger Bill Clinton.”
Watch the ad here:
At the time, the Grayson camp was as upset that Paul would make a big deal about something Grayson did when he was 20 as Paul is now about Conway doing the same thing with his infamous Aqua Buddha ad.
“Kentuckians deserve to know who Rand Paul voted for in the 1988 presidential campaign, when he was the top aide for Ron Paul’s pro-choice, anti-Reagan campaign for president,” Grayson’s campaign spokesperson told the Lexington Herald-Leader back during the primary.
Paul responded by admitting he voted for Ron Paul when he was on the ballot.
“It’s hard for me to imagine anyone not voting for his own father,” Paul told the paper. “Trey must have different family values than I do if he’s questioning me voting for my dad.”
So, it seems that back in February it was OK for Paul to use “youthful indiscretions” as a campaign attack against his opponent. Today he calls it “gutter politics” when Conway uses stories about Paul’s time at Baylor University to score political points.
Paul dismisses whatever happened back at Baylor — he still won’t say exactly what did happen — as too far in the past to be relevant to today’s race. When it came to Grayson’s past, however, Paul said the timing of his attacks was spot-on.
“Frankly, I’d rather be coming from the right than from the left like Grayson, who not too long ago was a Democrat and Bill Clinton supporter,” Paul told Time back in March.
Paul’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The TPM Poll Average shows Paul leading the Kentucky Senate race by a margin of 46.9-42.6.