Steele not comfortable with Rand Paul’s views on civil rights

In a "This Week" interview Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he was not comfortable with Rand Paul's views on civil rights. Steele's comments came in a debate with DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. Anchor Jake Tapper asked Steele, “Are you comfortable with” Paul’s views?

“I’m not comfortable with a lot of things,” Steele said.

“It sounds like you’re not comfortable with it,” Tapper said.

“I just said I wasn’t comfortable with it,” Steele replied.

“I think it’s important to understand that Rand Paul has clarified his statement and reiterated his support for…pushing civil rights forward, as opposed to going backwards,” Steele said on This Week. “Any attempt to look backwards is not in the best interest of our country certainly, and certainly not in the best interest of the party,” he said.

Steele said Rand Paul’s views on civil rights is part of his “philosophical position” which is also “held by a lot of libertarians, which Rand Paul is. They have a very, very strong view about the limitations of government intrusion into the private sector. That is a philosophical perspective,” he said. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said that Paul’s statements will make the seat easier for his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, to win in November. Kaine referenced “Rand Paul’s views on [the Civil Rights Act and] his statement this week that he thinks it’s un-American for President Obama to hold British Petroleum accountable for the spill in the Gulf…”

Paul told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that he didn’t like the White House policy towards BP. “What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,’” he said on Friday. “I think it's part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault, instead of the fact that maybe accidents happen.”

Steele said that “People shouldn’t worry about the Republican response to the BP oil spill, they should worry about the Democrat President’s response to the BP oil spill.”

“The federal government should have stepped into this thing immediately to help make sure that the appropriate steps were being taken by BP [and] all federal agencies in support of the state government to try to get this thing cleaned up,” Steele said. “And here we are almost a month and a half later and it’s still spilling oil,” Steele told host Jake Tapper.

“Rand Paul is wrong,” Kaine said. “It isn’t un-American to hold somebody accountable for a massive environmental disaster.”

Kaine also hit Paul for his comments about other federal regulations. “Saying as Rand Paul did…that we needn’t be so worried about things like mining regulations, this is a very important role the government has: to protect the safety of the environment and the health of citizens,” Kaine said. “Rand Paul’s statements along these lines are very, very troubling.”

Paul, who won the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky on Tuesday, drew criticism for his comments indicating the 1964 Civil Rights Act was perhaps too expansive in insisting private businesses not discriminate. “I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains,” Paul said in April. “I abhor racism, I think it’s a bad business decision to ever exclude anyone from your restaurant,” he told the Louisville Courier Journal, “but at the same time I do believe in private ownership.”

“There’s ten different titles, you know, to the Civil Rights Act. … One deals with private institutions, and had I been around I would have tried to modify that,” Paul said earlier this week.

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