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The limits of Rand Paul's libertarian ideals

Talk Radio News Service/Flickr

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) isn't shy about his ideology. He's from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, and when asked about most federal programs, the Kentucky senator will advocate for slashing spending and asking states and the private sector to pick up the slack.

Indeed, when Paul joined other Senate Republicans in rejecting the Violence Against Women Act last week, he said he opposed "borrowing money from China" -- Paul doesn't know China only finances 8% of U.S. debt -- to make investments that should come from states and charities.

At the same time, however, Paul believes the federal government can and should intervene to prevent women from exercising their reproductive rights, and as reporter Joe Sonka reminds us, Paul is a co-sponsor of a bill that would imprison physicians if they perform an abortion for a minor who crosses state lines to have the procedure without the presence and consent of her parents. Sonka hoped to nail down the senator on his federalist contradictions.

SONKA: You support the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. Why is action like that good on the federal level, but not the Violence…

PAUL: (interrupts) I'm not familiar with the details on that, anybody else?

SONKA: But you're a sponsor of the legislation?

As the media Q&A continued, Sonka tried again, which led Paul to promptly end the press conference.

Incidentally, Paul is an enthusiastic advocate of having lawmakers read legislation before voting on it. So how is it, exactly, that the Kentuckian can be "unfamiliar" with an anti-abortion bill he's co-sponsoring?

It's nearly as big a mystery as Paul's opposition to "big government" except in certain parts of the culture war.