Rand Paul may not appear for final debate - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rand Paul may not appear for final debate

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By Bennett Haeberle WDRB-TV Fox 41 News   bhaeberle@fox41.com

LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Rand Paul might not appear at a final televised debate next week, saying he "did not to want to be seen" with Democrat Jack Conway after Conway's campaign released an ad attacking Paul's past.

"It does affect me and my family to talk about my faith. And I'm not sure if I will appear again with him," Paul told reporters in Lexington Monday.

The ad claims Paul belonged to a secret society that allegedly kidnapped a woman and forced her to worship "Aqua Buddha" during his years at Baylor University. The issue first surfaced earlier this year in GQ magazine and later The Washington Post.

The ad continued to grab national attention Monday and forced Conway to defend himself with two weeks remaining before election day. It drew some concern from fellow Democrats, including Rep. John Yarmuth, who told Fox 41 News that the ad was "risky."

"It might create some backlash. I probably would not have done it," Yarmuth told Fox 41 News.

Yarmuth said that Conway was correct to question Paul's past, adding that he must Paul must be held accountable for his previous actions.

Appearing on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on the campus of the University of Louisville, Conway told Matthews he was not questioning Paul's faith.

"I was questioning his actions," he said after being pressed several times by Matthews if he believed Paul was a "man of faith."

The fallout from the ad led to a bitter exchange between the two U.S. Senate hopefuls during Sunday's debate.

Conway asked Paul: "When is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and your God you call 'Aqua Buddha?'"

Addressing Conway, Paul said: "You know Jack. You know how we tell when you are lying. It's when your lips are moving. Okay. You are accusing me of crimes. Do you know nothing about the process. You're going to accuse me of crimes from 30 years ago. How ridiculous are you? You embarrass this race."

Paul later refused to shake hands with Conway.

Fox 41 News was the only news organization to speak to directly to Paul afterwards.

BH: "Were there any questions you found too personal?

Rand Paul: "He attacks my religion in the ad. You've seen the ad. Thanks guys.

When asked if he would keep the ad or abandon it, Conway told Fox 41 News:

"The ad is up. It's based in facts. Rand Paul has two basic questions to answer. These are issues about the future of Kentucky," Conway said.

When asked about the possibility that Paul might not show up for their final debate, he said: "Kentuckians want to know that their next U.S. Senator is going to stand up and fight for them. I'll be there I don't think he ought to take his ball and go home."

Rand Paul's campaign said late Monday that the Bowling Green eye doctor had not yet decided if he would attend next week's debate.

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