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What if Rand Paul gave an interview and nobody noticed?

After shutting off national interviews in the wake of his 48-hour, post-primary victory flaps about the Civil Rights and Americans With Disabilities acts, U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky has returned to Fox News multiple times this week. He hit Sean Hannity's show last night, and the man described by Carly Fiorina as a "tough interview" was less than dogged in going after Paul.

HANNITY: I looked at your statement. When I first saw the news coverage, I said, what? He doesn't support the Civil Rights Act? That's how it was portrayed. And you clearly laid out just the opposite. And it was very clear.

PAUL: I've probably given 400 speeches, I'm not for repealing the Civil Rights Act, it is not part of my platform; it's not part of the Tea Party platform.

I see this as a way to try it not just destroy me, but now that I've become a leader in the Tea Party, they want to destroy the Tea Party. It's always been part of their agenda, but let me be very clear I'm not for repealing the Civil Rights Act, would have voted for, and that message was there.

HANNITY: But they tried to purposely distort what you had said.

PAUL: Yes. In fact, I was on sort of a left-leaning network that started this going. And they said, all day long I was for repealing it, based on the words of my Democratic opponent, not based on my words. And that's how it all got started.

But I've never been for it. It's never been my position. And I don't know what else to say.

HANNITY: Probably not much more to say.

Check out the whole interview, and get a sense of just how protected Paul -- or Sharron Angle, or any of the tea party candidates Democrats hope to paint as extreme -- is when he talks to Fox. It's sort of incredible, on a show otherwise devoted that night to the BP oil spill, that Hannity asked literally nothing newsy.

By David Weigel  |  June 11, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Media  
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Next: The Palin endorsement effect, calculated (and spun)

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