Kentucky’s GOP senate candidate Rand Paul has reshuffled his campaign team in the wake of last week’s Civil Rights Act imbroglio. Former campaign manager David Adams has been replaced in that role by Jesse Benton, who also served as spokesman in 2008 for Paul’s father, then GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. I had occasion to interact with Benton that year for a feature I wrote on Paul’s campaign and followers. Though “interact” is probably too expansive a term. Benton steadfastly refused to comment (with one small exception) or make Paul available, even though my feature was far from hostile to Paul. His reasoning was that somebody in the campaign had dealt with Mother Jones in the past and had decided we weren’t to be trusted.
Benton’s approach struck me as odd, given that Paul portrayed himself as a different kind of politician, someone who wasn’t stage managed or afraid of telling voters what he really believed. And Benton’s policy wasn’t reserved for Mother Jones. When I wrote a profile of Paul for Duke Magazine, the alumni magazine of Paul’s alma mater, Benton also denied me access.
Benton’s restrictive approach makes sense, of course, in the context of Rand Paul’s missteps on the Rachael Maddow show last week. My bet is that Rand Paul will now do his best to steer clear of reporters who are likely to pose uncomfortable questions.