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Rand Paul's opponent decries rival's 'Washington flip-flop' on Civil Rights Act

Updated 5:52 p.m.
I just spoke with Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) about his claim that his opponent in the state's U.S. Senate race, Rand Paul, wants to "repeal" the Civil Rights Act and Paul's 2002 letter stating his opposition to the Fair Housing Act.

"I meant that he rejected a fundamental provision of the act," said Conway, defending his use of the term "repeal" after Paul said he would not repeal the act. "He was on Rachel Maddow for 20 minutes, saying that, had he been there in 1964, he would have taken this provision out. That's basically what he said."

Conway called the 2002 letter that Paul wrote to his local paper "troubling." In it, Paul opposed the Fair Housing Act on the grounds that "a free society" should allow private discrimination even if he finds it abhorrent.

"I don't believe our society in 2010 ought to tolerate that," Conway said. "I think it's just this narrow and rigid worldview that he has, this philosophy. I don't know if it comes from his father. Tim Russert, a few years back, asked his father a few years ago about this. And his father said that, based on property rights, he doesn't support a few provisions of the Civil Rights Act. He said that point blank to Tim Russert.

"It seems like Rand Paul has been espousing this same point -- it seems like he was espousing this in 2002, he was espousing it a few weeks ago, and he was espousing it last night. If he's trying to backtrack now, he's just doing a Washington flip-flop," Conway said.

Conway, who has taken fire for conservatives for refusing to bring Kentucky into a lawsuit against health care reform, clearly relished the opportunity to criticize Paul's legal facts.

"Rand Paul has this tendency to get in public or get on national cable shows and feel like he wants to give me a lecture on constitutional law," said Conway. "I'm the attorney general of Kentucky. He didn't go to law school. I did. I don't need a lecture on Constitutional law from Rand Paul or Sarah Palin."

By David Weigel  |  May 20, 2010; 5:32 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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