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Black leaders hit Rand Paul on desegregation comments

By Robert "Rob" Redding Jr.

Editor & Publisher


May 20, 2010, 8 p.m. - Black leaders today took turns assailing desegregation comments made by Rand Paul, the newly elected Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky.

Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Barbara Lee said Rand's candidacy is "deeply troubling" for hinting that private business should be allowed to exclude blacks.

“Many Americans of all races through direct non-violent action, lunch counter sit-ins and boycotts put their lives on the line in the face of violent resistance," The Democrat said. "We have come too far to allow these gains to be eroded. Rand Paul’s comments are inconsistent and based on his earlier remarks, there is doubt about whether or not he is truly committed to preserving civil rights legislation.” 

Paul, a Tea Party supporter, said yesterday on the Rachel Maddow show that he favors the Civil Rights Act but has concerns about telling private businesses how to handle race. Paul today tried to clarify those remarks saying, "I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn earlier today said Paul needs to acknowledge that there were various sections of Civil Rights Act that were passed over several years, after 1964 to completely eradicate discrimination.

"He is parsing his words," the Democrat told MSNBC. "He is saying things and sending signs that I hope the vast majority of the people supporting him would reject.

Clyburn also attacked where Paul - who has said that he would not hold a membership to an organization which discriminates - held his victory party. Paul's victory party was held at the Bowling Green Country Club, which was founded in the early 1900's.

"I know what that means," Clyburn said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson has also said that he has concerns about Paul.

"He is arguing backwards," Jackson said. "It is a narrow view of American rights....we all deserve better."

This is not the first time that Paul's campaign has had a problem with a race issue.

Christopher Hightower, a campaign aide, resigned in December after racist images appeared on a political blog. The images contained an epithet and a black-and-white image of a person dangling from a tree.

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