Rand Paul doesn't shake hands with opponent after 'Aqua Buddha' debate; the two may not meet again
At the conclusion of what Talking Points Memo declared was "The Nastiest Debate of 2010", Kentucky Senate hopeful Rand Paul, a Republican, said he wouldn't shake hands with his opponent, Democrat Jack Conway, after their debate Sunday, and sure enough, Paul promptly rebuffed him, as promised.
A good night's sleep didn't ease Paul's mind. Monday morning, Paul said at a news conference that he might not even square off against Conway for their last debate, scheduled for Oct. 25.
At the heart of Paul's anger is Conway's dogged insistence in bringing up a weird incident from Paul's collegiate past. According to an unnamed woman in a GQ article, while he was at Baylor University in Texas, a stoned Paul and another man blindfolded the woman, kidnapped her, attempted to make her smoke marijuana and then ...
In the article titled "Rand Paul's Kooky College Days (Hint: There's a Secret Society Involved)" the woman claimed that her kidnapping happened when Paul belonged to "a secret society" called the NoZe Brotherhood.
[Rand Paul] and [Paul's friend] 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, [Texas], 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 recalls. "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."
Not one to let such a freaky moment slip through his hands, Conway created a political ad, naturally. "Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible 'a hoax' -- that was banned from mocking Christianity and Christ?" a voice says atop a bed of creepy music in the television ad aimed at Kentucky voters, firmly residing in the Bible Belt. "Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up? Tell her to bow down before a false idol and say his God was 'Aqua Buddha?'"
Sunday, Conway repeatedly asked of Paul: "Why did he freely join a group known for mocking, for making fun of people with faith? And secondly, when is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, that you call Aqua Buddha?"
Conway added that Paul's NoZe Brotherhood "reveled in sacrilege."
"You know how we tell when you're lying?" Paul asked of his opponent. "When your lips are moving. You're accusing me of crimes. Do you know nothing about the process? You're going to stand 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."
Later, when the alleged college incident resurfaced, Paul asked: "How do you respond to a guy who's going to quote somebody anonymously from 30 years ago that's untrue? You just out-and-out lie because you have nothing to stand on."
Paul regards himself a "pro-life Christian" and says he will announce his decision on whether he will participate in the final debate soon.
-- Tony Pierce
Photo: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, left, refused to shake the hand of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway after their debate at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky., on Sunday. Credit: John Sommers II / Reuters