Conway, who is the state's Democratic attorney general, is running a new ad
in which he questions the Tea Party favorite's alleged involvement, as a student at Baylor University, in a prank in which a woman anonymously quoted in GQ magazine says Paul tied her up and tried to get her to worship the "Aqua Buddha."
Right out of the gate last night, Paul pretended that this was an attack on him as a Christian: "Those who stoop to the level of attacking a man's religious beliefs to gain higher office, I believe that they should remember that it does not profit a man to gain the world if he loses his soul in the process," Paul lectured his opponent, quoting from Scripture.
"Jack, you should be ashamed of yourself," said the self-described "pro-life Christian," who may or may not have turned the other cheek, but who did refuse to shake Conway's hand after the debate. "Have you no decency? Have you no shame?"
Apparently not. Not to be outdone, Conway also behaved as though the relevant question really did involve the Bowling Green eye doctor's spiritual life; instead of noting that men raised other than by wolves don't for any reason tie up women who aren't in on the plan, the Moses of Frankfort tried to cast the incident as evidence that Paul worships false gods: "Why did he freely join a group known for mocking, for making fun of people with faith?" Conway asked during the debate. "When is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, which you call Aqua Buddha?"
As he has done before, Paul also got in on the trend Matt Lewis wrote
about the other day, of (mostly all-female) Republican candidates questioning their opponents' manhood. He also called Conway a schooled liar and asked him, "How ridiculous are you?"
"You know how we tell you're lying?" Paul asked rhetorically. "It's when your lips are moving. You're accusing me of crimes. . . . You are going to stand over there and accuse me of a crime from 30 years ago from some anonymous source. How ridiculous are you? You embarrass this race. . . . Run a race like a man . . . instead of calling me names."
"Rand, here is the thing,'' Conway said later in the debate. "You don't have the guts to stand by your positions. You told me to be a man. . . . Have the guts to stay by your positions."
Positions, did somebody say?
There was some talk of that, and health care reform did come up; as in earlier matchups, Paul said the current law is unconstitutional and he asked why Conway wasn't suing the federal government over what he called "Obamacare."
"I'm not going to waste the resources of the Commonwealth of Kentucky on Tea Party politics," Conway answered.
The "Aqua Buddha" incident was first reported in August in a CQ profile
of Paul that said he belonged to a secret group called the "NoZe Brotherhood," which reportedly considered the Bible "a hoax." The story said he and another member "paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul's teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, "he and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking pot." After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. "They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman recalled. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.' At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no."
Paul has denied that any such thing ever occurred, and called the story "ridiculous." He is currently running just ahead of Conway in the polls.
Paul said Monday that he hasn't yet decided whether to debate Conway once more, as scheduled. And he, too, has a new ad out, which asserts that Paul "keeps Christ in his heart." It asks, "What kind of man would bear false witness just to win an election?" before cutting to a black-and-white photo of Conway. "This one would,'' the ad says.
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