Appearing on MSNBC nearly one year ago, Kentucky GOP candidate Rand Paul said, “I am happy tonight to announce on The Rachel Maddow Show that I’m forming an exploratory committee to run for the U.S. Senate.” So it was natural that, one day after emerging victorious in his GOP primary, Paul returned to the show. And Maddow — as any responsible journalist would have — pressed Paul on the hot topic of the day: whether he supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act. After offering a weak defense of his views that he later had to completely step away from, Paul said it was “a poor political decision” to appear on the show and called Maddow part of the “loony left.” This morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough seemed to take Paul’s side and threw his own network under the bus:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I will not mention any names, but I’ll just say one of the top conservative leaders in Washington, DC, not elected, but a real opinion-shaper, had two questions. First of all, how could he have been so stupid to have walked into this type of controversy? And secondly, this is part of a news story so I’m going to say it, what the hell was he doing on MSNBC? This isn’t an anti-MSNBC situation but you don’t find a whole lot of very liberal Democrats going on Fox News election night or the night after to do their victory lap. They’re wondering whether he’s ready for prime time.
Maddow provided Paul a fair forum, giving him approximately 15 minutes to explain his views. The “poor political decision” that Paul made was not in appearing on her show, but rather in opposing portions of the Civil Rights Act. Rather than applauding his network’s journalistic feat, Scarborough is bashing it because his preferred candidate didn’t fare well.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said Maddow’s inquiry was a “gotcha question.” “If I’m walking down the street minding my own business and somebody sticks a microphone under my nose about a law that was passed 40 years ago, without more detail — I think it probably caught him a little bit by surprise,” Cornyn said in Paul’s defense.
,Scarborough responded to ThinkProgress via Twitter with the following statement:
ThinkProgress asked Scarborough to clarify his personal view about whether he agreed with Rand Paul’s decision to appear on Maddow’s show.