Rand Paul’s rocky presidential rollout continues.
Only two days after the recently announced Republican 2016 candidate was criticized for his agitated interview with ”TODAY” co-host Savannah Guthrie, Rand walked off the set of a live interview Friday with The Guardian after he was pressed on the specifics of his criminal justice reform advocacy. When Guardian journalist Paul Lewis stepped in front of the camera to explain what had happened, someone turned off the lights.
Lewis confirmed on Twitter that it was CNN that had turned off the lights as Paul walked away, but said it was “a shame he ended interview [sic] so abruptly.”
“He didn’t walk off,” a campaign spokesman said in an email to msnbc. “The reporter said last question right before and then we had our CNN interview in the same room.”
The incident is the Kentucky senator’s third prickly encounter with the press since announcing his presidential bid on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Republican was grilled by Fox News host Megyn Kelly for his history of testy exchanges with female journalists, including an infamous interview in which he “shushed” CNBC anchor Kelly Evans.
Asked by Kelly whether he regretted his interview with Guthrie, whom he accused of “editorializing” about his political views, Paul said he thinks Americans want a candidate who will “not just roll over and take it.”
Here is a transcript of the key exchange Friday:
RAND PAUL: I have a third bill [PUTS HAND OUT] let me answer the question. You complain I don’t answer the question.
GUARDIAN REPORTER: I haven’t complained yet, have I senator? [CHUCKLES]
PAUL: I’m giving you the specifics. So here’s the thing is. We also have a civil forfeiture bill, we also have a voting rights registration. I’ve got time for one more.
GUARDIAN: One more question, and sorry we sometimes have to be a bit force, when you stand for president you get pressed on questions and you understand that. Last question is about campaign strategy. You gave that speech in that hall and you got a whole lot of enthusiastic response from people who care about criminal justice. Young people do, Democrats do, liberals do. You’re standing for the Republican nomination. All of the research shows that Republicans, white Republicans who are going to determine the outcome of this race, don’t think that the criminal law is applied in an unfair way. So how are you going to win the nomination with this group?
PAUL: I think that’s incorrect. I think that your premise is incorrect. Actually I think that I can take that message into a white evangelical church anywhere in Iowa and give exactly the same speech and be received well.
GUARDIAN: Washington Post / ABC Poll last week said two in three …
PAUL: [LOOKS AWAY AND POINTS] Obviously he … [INAUDIBLE – WALKS AWAY]
GUARDIAN: But, this is the specifics Senator … okay, so we, we got the interview cut off. Maybe it was because I was about to push him on the specifics [LIGHTS SHUT OFF] Oh! The lights are off, in fact.
Anthony Terrell contributed reporting to this story.