Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives for the Republican weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington January 28, 2014.
Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Rand Paul steps up Lewinsky attack in new interview

Updated

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul says Democrats should return any campaign money raised by former President Bill Clinton to protest his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Paul charged that Democrats are being inconsistent by talking about a Republican “war on women” while relying on the former president for campaign cash.

“The Democrats can’t say, ‘We’re the great defenders of women’s rights in the workplace, and we will defend you against some kind of abusive boss that uses their position of authority to take advantage of a young woman,’ when the leader of their party, the leading fundraiser in the country, is Bill Clinton, who was a perpetrator of that kind of sexual harassment,” Paul said in C-Span interview set to air Sunday. “They can’t have it both ways. And so I really think that anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back.” 

Paul continued, “If they want to take a position on women’s rights, by all means do. But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.”

The Washington Times first reported news of Paul’s comments on Friday.

Paul, a potential 2016 presidential contender, called out Clinton’s “predatory behavior” during an interview last month on NBC’s Meet the Press.

The Republican senator’s effort to revive the Lewinsky controversy, which led to Clinton’s 1998 impeachment, appears aimed at neutralizing the Democrats’ so-called “war on women” line of attack, and also at tarnishing Hillary Clinton, who polls indicate would be the Democratic frontrunner in 2016 if she decides to make a presidential bid.

There’s no sign of Democrats shying away from Clinton. He’ll campaign later this month for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who’s taking on GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, she announced Friday.

“I think most women understand that they should not be held accountable for the behaviors of their husbands. And you know, frankly, it was a long time ago, and our country did very well under the leadership of Bill Clinton,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said on MSNBC recently.

The Democratic National Committee pounced on Paul’s comments Friday. 

“If his claims of concern for women are sincere he should start by rethinking his opposition to the Violence Against Women’s Act, paycheck fairness and the right of women to make their own health care decisions,” Lily Adams, deputy communications director at the DNC, said in a statement.

Andrea Mitchell Reports, 2/7/14, 2:27 PM ET

Rand Paul takes on a former president

On The Daily Fix: Senator Rand Paul criticizes former President Bill Clinton on C-SPAN; and Victoria Nuland has strong words for the EU.

Bill Clinton, Claire McCaskill and Rand Paul

Rand Paul steps up Lewinsky attack in new interview

Updated