Before becoming the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Kentucky, Rand Paul welcomed questions and inquiries from the press. But after a tide of criticism for his belief that private businesses should have the right to discriminate based on race and physical ability, Paul restructured his staff and brought on National Republican Senatorial Committee help. Since the new leadership within the campaign, Paul has canceled on Meet the Press and refused to speak to non-ideological media, preferring the safe platform of Fox News. Last weekend, after a speech to Republican activists in the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Paul balked at the prospect of talking to local reporter Ryan Alessi. Paul instead instructed Alessi to “submit your questions to us and we’ll look at them”:
ALESSI: Would you vote for the extension of the Medicaid reimbursement increase that the governors, at least thirty governors want?
PAUL: Why don’t you submit your questions to us and we’ll look at them.
ALESSI: You’re not going to answer any questions in person?
Paul seems to be taking a page from other prominent conservative firebrands like Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle. Palin has refused to take direct questions from actual journalists, and she has a stipulation in her speaking contract that questions must be screened before audience members can ask her anything. Angle closed her campaign to only conservative media after winning the Republican nomination in Nevada. Since winning the Republican nomination, Paul has not only become less open, but has flipped on his position that he would not fund raise with Senators who voted for the bank bailout. (HT: Joe Sonka)