The women of CBS This Morning did not seem to appreciate Rand Paul's recent comments on Bill Clinton and his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The Republican senator appeared on the morning show, Wednesday, to discuss the State of the Union address. However, King echoed the language of Secretary Clinton's famous testimony about the Benghazi terrorist attack. Speaking of the ex-president's affairs, she huffed, "But what difference does that make and what good comes of that now two decades later? What do you hope will come of that conversation?" [MP3 audio here.]
Paul retorted by calling the former president a "serial philanderer" and added, "But he was a person who took advantage of a young girl in the workplace and I think that's inexcusable and that kind of war on women should end." O'Donnell icily responded, "And what do you think that has to do if Hillary Clinton runs for president?" Speaking of the potential Democratic presidential nominee, Paul quipped, "She's had to tolerate the same sort of problems from him, you know, I guess, over time."
Co-anchor Charlie Rose also objected to the Kentucky senator's description of Obama's State of the Union address as "my way or the highway." Interrupting Paul in mid-sentence, Rose defended, "But that's not what he saying, Senator, as you know. I mean, he said I'd like to cooperate. 'I'd like to find some common ground.'"
The Republican disagreed, calling Obama's address a type of "subtle threat" against Republicans.
At the very least, CBS should be congratulated for bringing on a Republican to respond to the State of the Union. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today on Wednesday only featured Vice President Joe Biden. (CBS This Morning also had Biden, but at least brought on Paul.)
A partial transcript of the January 29 segment, which aired at 8:05am ET, follows:
CHARLIE ROSE: What was your biggest complaint about the State of the Union speech?
RAND PAUL: Well, you know, I think it's not very conciliatory to say, you know, my way or the highway, you either do it the way I want or I'll do it anyway. I personally –
ROSE: But that's not what he saying, Senator, as you know. I mean, he said I'd like to cooperate. 'I'd like to find some common ground.' I hope we can do this on these big issues.
PAUL: But, Charlie, there's a little bit of a subtle threat there. You know? Either do it or else. The thing is this is a bigger question. It's not just about me being a Republican and the President being a Democrat. This is about the separation of powers. It's about the checks and balances and it's that democracy is messy. Democracy involves debate. It involves going back and forth trying to convince people on the other side to come your way and so really saying "I've got a pen and a phone." There is a certain amount of arrogance to that.
NORAH O'DONNELL: I looked through your speech last night and I didn't see any specific policy proposals. I didn't notice that you now acknowledge that you want to work with anybody. Democrats, Republicans, independents to alleviate poverty in this country. What do you think is the cause of poverty?
PAUL: You know, I did have one specific thing. It's a big idea. It's economic freedom zones. And this is proposing lowering taxes to depressed areas. For Detroit, it would leave $1.3 billion in Detroit. And the main difference is a pretty big fill some office difference between the President and myself. The President wants to take money from Detroit, bring it to Washington and then his people will decide who to give it back to. The problem is most businesses fail. So if the governments fail. So if government picks who they're going to give money to, most of the time they'll give it to the wrong people. I want to give it to the people who are earning it. So in Detroit if there's a successful business, café, welding shop, I want to give money back to that business because if they have ten employees, they may well get 12 employees if I let them keep more of their taxes. It doesn't work for government to pick the winners because it's hard to know who will be the successful business person.
GAYLE KING: Can you comment about your recent comments about Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair? I know you didn't bring it up.
PAUL: Do I have to?
KING: Yes. If you wouldn't mind. I know you didn't bring it up and you were responding to another question. But what difference does that make and what good comes of that now two decades later? What do you hope will come of that conversation?
PAUL: Well, the only reason I'm bringing it up is people keep asking me. If you ask me a question, I most likely will answer the question. But what I would say is there's been a lot of talk of a war on women and I am very concerned that we treat and that women be treated equally and fairly in the workplace and one of the worst things that can happen is if your boss takes advantage of you in the workplace. And, so, really, for all these people who stand up for Bill Clinton and say he's a greatest thing since sliced bread, he was a serial philanderer. But he's also someone who took advantage of women in the workplace and that's an old-fashioned thing from a long time ago. But it's only 15 years ago. Many of the Democrats today still defend him and think he's the greatest thing. But he was a person who took advantage of a young girl in the workplace and I think that's inexcusable and that kind of war on women should end.
O'DONNELL: And what do you think that has to do if Hillary Clinton runs for president?
PAUL: You know, I'm not so sure. I mean, like I said, it's hard to separate them. It's not her fault. I mean, she's had to tolerate the same sort of problems from him, you know, I guess, over time. But I would say it's more a question of the entire Democrat party who says there's a war on women and that somehow the other party's committing this and yet they support and defend a guy who, really, in the workplace was dog something that was inexcusable, should not be tolerated. So really there's a question of hypocrisy and I don't think people like hypocrisy. And so we'll see. I don't know if it makes any difference or not. I just keep answering the questions you all ask me.