Usually, if a politician is accused of something “crazy” and unfounded say, tying someone up, attempting to make them smoke marijuana, and forcing them to pray to the heathen god Aqua Buddha the standard reaction is to emphatically deny it, question the trustworthiness of the source, and maybe threaten legal action. Well, the Rand Paul campaign has been accused of just that. They’ve got the legal threats down campaign manager Jesse Benton says they’re “investigating all [their] options including legal ones.” And they’ve maligned the source of said accusations, calling the GQ story “drive-by journalism by a writer with a leftist agenda.” The denials, though, are proving more difficult to come by.
First, Benton, when asked by GQ about the story, just ignored the question entirely, saying, “During his time at Baylor, Dr. Paul competed on the swim team and was an active member of Young Conservatives of Texas.” When e-mailed by Politico’s Ben Smith, Benton again declined to offer a denial. “We’ll leave National Enquirer-type stories about his teenage years to the tabloids where they belong,” he said. Finally, last night, Paul himself was asked about the alleged incident on Fox News.
What exactly is Paul denying here? “No, I never was involved with kidnapping,” he tells Neil Cavuto. So, the whole thing never happened? Not exactly. Paul seems to be quibbling not with the facts of the story, but with the characterization of his prank as “kidnapping,” instead implying that whatever did or did not happen, it was “all in fun” (even though the accuser today calls it “kind of sadistic”). And when Cavuto asks Paul whether he remembers blindfolding this woman and making her bow down to Aqua Buddha, Paul dodges: “Well, I’m not going to really try to go back 27 years and remember everything in college.” No, try!
Paul also adamantly denies ever forcing someone to use drugs. That makes sense, because the woman says that though they tried, she refused to smoke with them. So technically, he never did force anyone to use drugs. Nevertheless, it’ll be quite a pickle for the Paul campaign at this point if this anonymous accuser decides to come forward.