Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’s contention during a speech at historically African-American Howard University that he has “never wavered” in his support of Civil Rights and of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Maddow began the segment discussing the post-2012 “autopsy report” of the Republican Party’s various stinging defeats in the November elections. RNC Chairperson Reince Priebus declared that the party needed to do more outreach to minorities like African-Americans and Hispanics.
Not long after that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gave kind of a hilariously awful speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in which he likened his personal affinity for Latinos to comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s professed attraction to Asian women and read the audience a love poem by Chilean socialist poet Pablo Neruda.
“Don’t do it,” said Maddow, cringing in the embarrassment that Paul is apparently incapable of feeling. “Don’t do it, just…don’t.”
Not content to alienate one of the most politically powerful Latino organizations in the country, Paul took his personal brand of tin-eared minority outreach to traditionally African-American Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he informed students that if they knew as much about African-American history as he did, they would all vote Republican.
“I mean, how many of you would have,” Paul said, “if I would have said, ‘Who do you think the founders of the NAACP are, do you think they are Republicans or Democrats,’ would everybody here know they are all Republicans?”
When the crowd erupted in jeers at his condescension, Paul said, “All right, all right, you know more than I know, okay. I don’t mean that to be insulting. I don’t know what you know. I’m trying to find out what the connection is.”
During a question from a student about vote suppression and Paul’s public statements about the Civil Rights Act, the Senator declared, “I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever. I still continue to be for the Civil Rights Act, as well as enforcement of the 14th Amendment.”
That runs directly counter to statements Paul made on “The Rachel Maddow Show” in 2010. Maddow said that she remembers it because it was the last time Paul ever spoke to her, after she spent 15 minutes trying to get Paul to clarify his position on the Civil Rights Act.
“Would you have voted for the Civil Rights act of 1964?” she finally asked him, to which Paul replied that he would have been completely in favor of the integration of public places, but not so much for private businesses.
“I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners, and I abhor racism,” he insisted. “I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant, but at the same time I do believe in private ownership.”
“That was Rand Paul in 2010 questioning the Civil Rights Act,” Maddow said, in spite of his protestations on Wednesday.
“Rand Paul saying at Howard University today he never questioned the Civil Rights Act is not true,” she concluded, “and it’s not true on tape, as the moderator noted today at Howard. It’s one thing to have a sketchy record on racial discrimination you don’t want to defend, it’s another to think you can get away with flat-out lying about it. If you’re a U.S. Senator, you’re Google-able and people are going to Google you so they will know it when you lie to their faces.”
Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below: