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Rand Paul has again stepped into controversy over a contentious interview with a prominent female television correspondent who he said was conducting the interview in an unfair way.
In an interview with the TODAY Show, Paul sparred with anchor Savannah Guthrie, instructing her to “let me explain instead of talking over me, OK?”
The clash came as Guthrie noted Paul’s shifting positions on the threat caused by Iran and America’s role in doling out foreign aid to countries including Israel.
Here’s a transcript of that exchange:
GUTHRIE: You have had views in the past on foreign policy that are somewhat unorthodox, but you seem to have changed over the years. You once said Iran was not a threat, now you say it is. You once proposed ending foreign aid to Israel; you now support it, at least for the time being. And you once offered to drastically cut...PAUL: No , before we go -GUTHRIE: Well wait, wait, wait.[CROSSTALK]GUTHRIE: So I just wonder if you’ve mellowed out.PAUL: Yeah, why don’t we let me explain instead of talking over me, OK? Before we go through a litany of things you say I’ve changed on, why don’t you ask me a question: Have I changed my opinion?GUTHRIE: Have you changed your opinion?PAUL: That’s a better way to approach it.GUTHRIE: Okay. Is Iran still not a threat?PAUL: No, no, no, you’ve editorialized it. No no no no, listen. You’ve editorialized. Let me answer a question. You asked a question and you say ‘Have your views changed?’ instead of editorializing and saying my views have changed.
The testy back-and-forth had echoes of Paul’s February flap with CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, who asked him about corporate tax holidays. Paul “shushed” Evans and advised her to “calm down a bit here.”
Paul: Well that is incorrect. Let's go back again. Your premise and your question is mistaken.Evans: Alright.Paul: Most of the research doesn't indicate that. In fact, there is a prominent study by Robert Shapiro looking at the holiday in 2005, when we lowered the rate to 5 percent, and his conclusion was that it brought $300 billion of new capital home. And then it brought it about $30 billion of new tax revenue. The whole purpose of doing that is to bring the money home. There's two trillion —Evans: Right, but it works that first year, senator. But their concern is down the road.Paul: Hey, let me finish. Hey, hey, Kelly.Evans: I'm sorry, go ahead.Paul: Calm down a bit here, Kelly. Let me answer the question. The whole point of this legislation is that money has been accumulating. Much money has actually been inverting and people are reincorporating because the tax code in our country is not encouraging money to come home. So this is to lower tax rate, to bring more money home, and to take that new money, some of the tax revenue, and put it into the highway fund. I think this is a win-win-win. You lower a tax rate, you bring in more revenue and you are actually able to plug a whole we have in our highway trust fund.Evans: What people want, senator, is for you to make this permanent. Why not just make it 6.5 percent period? The problem is that as it happened in 2005—Paul: Let me answer the question before you get going.Evans: Alright.
In an interview with CNN later in the day, Paul said he has "been universally short tempered and testy with both male and female reporters" and said he has an "equal opportunity" annoyance with journalists of both genders whom he feels misrepresent his views.
He added that he'll have to get better "at holding my tongue and holding my temper."
-- Carrie Dann