Rand Paul aide's past as 'Southern Avenger'

Rand Paul aide's past as 'Southern Avenger'
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 6:19pm

(CNN) -- Sen. Rand Paul's new media director, who also helped the Kentucky Republican write a 2011 book, has a past as a pro-Southern secessionist assuming a "Southern Avenger" persona while hosting a radio show.

Jack Hunter, who has made a number of provocative comments about race, was also a member of the pro-Southern independence group League of the South before he came to work for Paul.

"Sen. Paul holds his staff to a standard that includes treating every individual with equal protection and respect, without exception," Paul's communication's director Moira Bagley said in response to the inquiries Tuesday. Hunter's past associations were reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication.

The website noted articles written by Hunter praising John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, and an item in which Hunter writes that he toasts Booth's birthday annually.

The character "Southern Avenger," which Hunter describes on his website as an "anonymous super hero/ pro-wrestler persona," wears a mask printed with the Confederate flag.

In articles unearthed by the Free Beacon, Hunter writes at length about racial identity, ascertaining what he says is a "double standard" between white and black Americans.

"Not only are whites not afforded the same right to celebrate their own cultural identity - but anything that is considered 'too white' is immediately suspect," Hunter wrote in 2004. "The term 'diversity' has become nothing more than a code word for 'not white,' and it's a shame that just because we have fair skin, we are always denied fair treatment."

The Free Beacon's article notes that in an interview, Hunter said he no longer holds many of his past views.

Paul, who is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, has spent much of his trips to early voting states this year encouraging a more welcoming attitude among Republicans. He told a crowd of New Hampshire GOP activists the party needs to "grow bigger."

"If you want to be the party of white people, we're winning all the white votes. We're a diverse nation. We're going to win when we look like America," he said in May.

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