As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) pushed the Patriot Act to the brink Sunday evening, he may have gone a little too far with his fiery rhetoric — even by his own standards.
On “America’s Newsroom” Monday morning, Paul joined Fox News’ Bill Hemmer to discuss the expiration of the NSA’s data collection program and the Senator’s battle with much of his own party. Hemmer asked Paul to clarify one of the comments he made, in which the Senator suggested some of his opponents, including some GOP rivals and the President, “secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.”
“I think sometimes in the heat of battle, hyperbole can get the better of anyone,” Paul told Hemmer. “And that may be the problem there. The point I was trying to make is that I think people do use fear to try and get us to give up our liberty.”
The Senator from Kentucky would evoke the names of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to argue whether Americans should “trade our liberty for security” and how the Founding Fathers were “opposed to generalized warrants.”
Trying to pin Paul down on whether he officially retracts his comments, Hemmer bluntly asked “Do you take back that statement you just said?”
“I think sometimes going after people’s motives and impugning people’s motives is a mistake,” Paul responded, sticking with the company line. “And in the heat of battle, I think sometimes, hyperbole can get the better of all of us. I think the general idea that people use fear, and I think they do use fear, they act as if we can’t collect any records.”
“Are you standing by that or not?” Hemmer asked once more, toward the end of the interview.
“I think by calling it hyperbole, that means that I may well have exaggerated the case,” as Paul somewhat snapped back at Hemmer.
Watch Paul’s interview with Hemmer, courtesy of Fox News.
Watch clip of Paul’s comments, courtesy of C-SPAN 2 (via The Daily Caller).