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Rand Paul: 'Women are winning' the war on women

Rand Paul: 'Women are winning' the war on women
US Senate
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Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 4:24pm

Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that Democrats are failing in their attempts to frame the GOP as a party that wages a war against women, and argued the message comes from the party of former President Bill Clinton, whose reputation is still tarnished from his "predatory behavior" in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"The whole thing of the 'war on women,' I sort of laughingly say, 'Yeah, there might have been -- but the women are winning it,'" the Republican senator from Kentucky said on CNN's "State of the Union." He said women have made great strides and, as an example, now make up more than half the students at medical and law schools.

"I think women are doing very well, and I'm proud of how far we've come," the potential 2016 presidential candidate continued.

"And I think some of the victimology and all of this other stuff is trumped up. We don't get to any good policy by playing some sort of charade that somehow one party doesn't care about women or one party is not in favor of women advancing, or other people advancing."

As the GOP gears up for the 2014 midterms, some in the party have acknowledged that Republican candidates could do better when it comes to talking about women's issues.

"Some of our members just aren't as sensitive as they ought to be." House Speaker John Boehner said last month, when asked about efforts by the House GOP campaign arm to improve how candidates appeal to female voters.

CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, pressed Paul on whether the issue is a "matter of words and tone."

"Somewhat," Paul said. "I think also a lot of the debates we have in Washington and in the public, generally, are dumbed down. They're characterized and we get to the point where we're talking about stuff and throwing stuff back and forth, and we are never getting to the truth."

Paul's comments came in response to a question about controversial remarks made by 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee last week at a meeting of the Republican National Committee.

"Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women," Huckabee said. "That is not a war on them; it is a war for them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it."

No excuse for 'predatory behavior'

In a separate interview Sunday, Paul said Democrats have "concocted" the supposed "war on women," but they tend to ignore Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

"One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office," he continued. (Lewinsky was closer to 22 when she started her internship in 1995.)

"There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior. And it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with, people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office."

Paul's wife, Kelley, said in a Vogue article last year that if Hillary Clinton becomes the next president, Bill Clinton's history with Lewinsky "should complicate his return to the White House, even as First Spouse."

Asked if Bill Clinton's past should be a consideration in a potential second presidential bid by his wife, Paul said he's "not saying that," but "sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other." When it comes to judging Bill Clinton's legacy, however, Paul said the affair should certainly be considered a factor.

"Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really. And then (Democrats) have the gall to stand up and say, 'Republicans are having a war on women'?" he said. "Now, it's not Hillary's fault ... but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history." 

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