Rand Paul's former Baylor swim teammate the one he had reportedly blindfolded, tied up, tried to force to smoke weed, and pressured to knee and pray to the god Aqua Buddha is trying to clear up some confusion in a new, still-anonymous interview with the Plum Line's Greg Sargent. And though she reiterates the events of the original story, she definitely vindicates Paul in clarifying that she was never forcibly "kidnapped" in the way that, say, Mel Gibon's son was kidnapped in Ransom. She was friends with Paul and the other NoZe brother, knew it was a prank, and willingly took part in it.
The woman said that much of the subsequent coverage of her allegations missed a key nuance: As a participant in a college ritual, where lines between acquiescence and victimization are often blurry, she was largely playing along with the notion that she was being forced to follow Paul's orders.
"I went along because they were my friends," she said. "There was an implicit degree of cooperation in the whole thing. I felt like I was being hazed."
Still, this was not exactly something this woman enjoyed or wanted to experience again. "She added that the whole thing was so 'weird' that afterwards she ended relations with Paul and his friends," Sargent writes. Nevertheless, Paul was right. He never kidnapped anyone, except in a pretend way, and never forced anyone to do drugs. The Paul campaign is elated:
"It is satisfying to see the libelous and grossly irresponsible charges of kidnapping completely shot down," Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton emailed. "It remains puzzling to us why the drive-by media continues to focus on an alleged 30 year old teenage prank when our nation faces high unemployment, a thirteen trillion dollar debt and are threatened with a Cap and Trade national energy tax."
Okay. (A) This has only been in the news mostly on blogs that traffic in entertaining politics stories for two days; it's not like anyone is making it out to be the next Watergate. (B) It would have been a lot less intriguing had the campaign just come out and admitted that Paul had participated in this prank, instead of mysteriously evading all questions about it and pretending that believing this story was like believing in alien abductions. Even now, they're still calling the prank "alleged." (C) None of this changes the fact that Paul is very weird.
Exclusive: Rand Paul's accuser clarifies "kidnapping" [Plum Line/WP]