Conway, Paul trade barbs in Paducah - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Conway, Paul trade barbs in Paducah

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PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) -- Democratic Senate hopeful Jack Conway on Friday cast Republican Rand Paul as a demagogue playing on people's fears amid economic turmoil.

Paul fired back by portraying Conway as a willing helper to President Barack Obama, who remains unpopular in Kentucky. Paul said Conway will have to run away from Obama in the fall campaign but won't be able to run fast enough.

The rivals let loose the political crossfire as they spoke in the same western Kentucky city on the eve of their showdown Saturday at the annual Fancy Farm picnic, the traditional kickoff of their fall campaign.

In a speech to labor activists and other supporters, Conway accused the libertarian-leaning Paul of trying to exploit nagging concerns about job security in a troubled economy.

"If you look throughout history, in times of economic peril and times of trouble, there is always a demagogue who jumps up and plays to people's fears rather than their hopes," Conway said. "And that's what's going on in this Senate race. And our charge over the next 87 days is to beat it back."

In his speech Friday to a Republican audience, Paul said Democrats will attack him to try to distract voters from unpopular policies in Washington.

"The other side's strategy will be to try to vilify me and not talk about the issues, not talk about President Obama, not talk about (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, not talk about (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid," he said. "But in order for them to run, because they know Kentucky voters don't support any of these proposals coming out of Washington, they will have to run headlong away from their president, headlong away from his leadership."

Paul, a Bowling Green eye doctor and first-time candidate, said voters have responded to his call to cut government spending and free up businesses from onerous regulations that prevent job growth.

"I think there's never been (another) election when, not only is there great momentum behind us, the wind is behind us, but that there's a great difference in the messages," Paul said.

At the Democratic event, other prominent party leaders kept up the bare-knuckled attacks against Paul. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo called Paul a "dangerous man," while Gov. Steve Beshear said the Republican promotes extreme views.

"This fellow stands for extreme policies in this country," Beshear said. "We cannot afford to send somebody to Washington that does not know how to make things happen, but instead just wants to stand in the way of anything happening."

Paul caused a brief political firestorm in the spring by expressing misgivings about applying a portion of the Civil Rights Act to private businesses, and for suggesting that the Obama administration's harsh criticism of BP for the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill was un-American and antibusiness.

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