On Meet the Press this morning, Sen. Rand Paul decided it was time to finally set the record straight about the 16-year-old scandal involving former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. When asked by David Gregory about comments made by his wife Kelley during an interview with Vogue last year, the junior senator from Kentucky offered the Lewinsky affair would be fair political game if Hillary Clinton gears up for another White House run in 2016.
"I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior."
Paul sought to frame the criticism of Clinton's infamous misdeeds as a note of hypocrisy as Democrats continue to charge that Republicans are engaged in a "war on women." When pushed, Paul clarified that he didn't believe "Monicagate" should play a factor in how Hillary Clinton is judged, only how history judges her husband.
Undercutting that point, he suggested that "sometimes it's hard to separate one [Clinton] from the other" and added that in Kentucky, people would "disassociate" from someone like Bill Clinton. (This wasn't the first time that Paul took Clinton to task over the affair.)
Coming quickly to the Clintons' defense was Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who responded in a later segment: "Hillary Clinton has established her own reputation and her own name and her own basis for running for president should she choose to do it. The issues that were raised by my colleague Sen. Paul have been litigated in the public square for over a decade. For goodness sakes, let’s judge Hillary Clinton based on her talents and her vision of America should she choose to run for president."
Other yet might contend that President Clinton is hardly the recipient of a free pass with regard to l'affaire Lewinsky, even all these years later. During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the Associated Press controversially incorporated the affair in a fact-check it conducted of Bill Clinton's convention speech. And, as we mentioned, when Bill Clinton was named "Father of the Year" by the National Father's Day Council just a few weeks back, radio silence was hard to come by.
Here is Paul's interview: