An incident involving people rallying before Monday night’s Kentucky U.S. Senate debate at KET is making waves across the Internet today.
A 32-second video of the incident shows Paul emerging from a vehicle presumably to walk into the KET studios. Shortly thereafter, the video shows a person in a red hooded sweatshirt, whom eyewitnesses say was wearing a blond wig, being taken to the ground by men wearing t-shirts featuring Rand Paul campaign logos. A man then placed his foot near the head and neck of the person on the ground and appeared to try to stomp on them before walking away.
Video via YouTube user brynb2:
Lexington Police said no one was injured in the incident, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
Late last night, Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton released the following statement regarding the incident: “We understand that there was an altercation outside of the debate between supporters of both sides and that is incredibly unfortunate. Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election. We are relieved to hear that the woman in question was not injured.”
Today, the campaign released another statement: “The Paul for Senate campaign is extremely disappointed in, and condemns the actions of a supporter last night outside the KET debate. Whatever the perceived provocation, any level of aggression or violence is deplorable, and will not be tolerated by our campaign. The Paul campaign has disassociated itself from the volunteer who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind.”
The two men vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Southgate) met Monday night on the set of KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” for the last of five debates before the Nov. 2 vote.
An altercation between people in the crowd outside the KET headquarters on Cooper Drive near Commonwealth Stadium before the debate was videotaped by local television news and was attracting Internet attention late Monday and early Tuesday.
In an hour-long program that was broadcast on C-SPAN nationwide, host Bill Goodman opened with questions familiar to most Kentuckians: Essentially — Who are your people? Where are you from? Conway outlined a childhood as the son of an Army vet who put himself through law school at night and as the grandson of veteran L&N Railroad worker, mentioning three siblings, high school training at St. Xavier in Louisville and college and law school. Rand Paul highlighted that he grew up in a small town where he could safely ride his bike to all activities as a child and that his choice of a small town in Kentucky, where his wife of 25 years is a native, has offered his own three children the same stability. Paul also mentioned that he coaches youth sports including Little League and soccer, but jokingly declined to discuss his win-loss record.
Goodman asked the duo about the most recent work of fiction that each had read. Paul said he had most recently finished “The Poisonwood Bible,” a novel set in Africa, written by Kentuckian Barbara Kingsolver. Conway said that he spends much of his time reading non-fiction, but the last novel he read was probably “The DaVinci Code,” by Dan Brown.
Questions moved into the area of campaign and policy priorities, with the candidates discussing jobs and their different plans for creating them, the stimulus package by the federal government, the cap and trade policy, the national healthcare policy and how it might affect Kentuckians and proposals/stances by both that have been disputed in the media.
Callers from across the state were piped into the studio, with the first one asking such a specific question to Paul that he joked “I don’t think this is an undecided voter.” People were also allowed to e-mail questions to the candidates.
The debate got testy at points, with Paul criticizing what he called Conway’s limited “world view,” and Conway asking Paul point-blank — “Are you talking down to me?” However, the exchange was not nearly as heated as the previous installment in the five-debate series, which had been held at University of Louisville.
And, the issue of “Aqua Buddha,” a college incident that Paul is reported to have participated in which he and another Baylor University student took a woman from her home, tied her up, forced her into a creek and to swear allegiance to a marijuana water-pipe called “Aqua Buddha,” did not come up. Ads by the Conway campaign that have been airing statewide questioned Paul’s faith and related the incident, calling the bong a “false idol.” Voters on both sides of the aisle have been debating the ad hotly. In the U of L debate, Paul said that Conway had gone too far with that ad and threatened not to participate in Monday’s KET program.
Before the show taping began, supporters of both candidates gathered outside KET studios, which are adjacent to the UK campus on Cooper Drive. With about 100 people in the crowd holding Conway and Paul signage, an altercation broke out and was taped by television news crews. A woman who was wearing a blonde wig and a red sweater and holding a sign that made her appear like a Paul supporter though she is part of MoveOn.org, a Democratic-leaning activist group, was grabbed and forced to the curb by one man. Another man, who was wearing Paul supporter attire stepped on her head, pressing it against the curb. The woman was able to talk to television reporters after the incident.
The videotape of the “curbstomping” was picked up and circulated across the incident as local stations in Lexington and Louisville broadcast their coverage.
Conway, the commonwealth’s attorney general, and Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon, are vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, of Northern Kentucky. Polls show Paul leading Conway in the race. The winner will join Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator and the Senate Minority Leader in Washington.
Paul’s backing by Tea Party factions has brought national attention to the race, which is being considered one of several bellwethers of mid-term voter sentiment about the country.
LEXINGTON – The two candidates for the Kentucky U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Villa Hills) will participate in the final debate of a contentious campaign that has attracted national attention tonight at 8 p.m. on KET.
The debate, between Republican Dr. Rand Paul and Democrat Jack Conway is the last in a series that grew heated in its last installment at the University of Louisville. In fact, following the debate at U of L, candidate Paul was uncertain if we would participate in tonight’s event,
alleging that Conway’s campaign had gone too far in its television ads that focused on Paul’s college days at Baylor University and the “Aqua Buddha” incident.
But on Friday, Paul announced that he would participate in the debate, to be broadcast from Kentucky Educational Television’s headquarters on Cooper Drive near the University of Kentucky campus.
The debate will be an edition of the long-running public affairs program “Kentucky Tonight,” with questions posed by host Bill Goodman. It will air in Lexington on KET, which is Insight Ch. 12 or Ch. 918 in HD.
Paul is a Bowling Green eye doctor whose candidacy, associated with the Tea Party movement, has attracted national attention. Conway is the current Attorney General of the Commonwealth.
National political experts and analysts are keeping an eye on the Kentucky race as a bellwether for the country’s election mood, especially as there is no incumbent on the ballot with Bunning’s retirement.
This is the fifth debate in the candidates’ series. Both candidates
have visited the UK campus several times on the campaign trail. Rand Paul attended two Citizen Kentucky debates sponsored by the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky. Conway recently came to campus for a rally that included a visit by former President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford. Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 2 to select the new senator from Kentucky.
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