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University of Louisville hosted a panel on political discourse Monday. Congressman John Yarmuth, outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and political science professor Jasmine Farrier were all on the panel, which was convened in response to calls for civil debate after the shooting in Arizona.

You can read about the panel’s remarks here.

You can listen to the entire discussion here. (mp3) It’s long, but very interesting. The panelists weighed in on divisive media, shifts in political behavior and a number of other topics.

Outgoing Secretary of State Trey Grayson was interviewed on NPR this morning about his friendship with Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

The night before Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot, she sent an e-mail to an old friend: Kentucky’s Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican. She told him she wanted to talk to him about ways to promote centrism and moderation.

Kentucky Secretary of State (and former Senate candidate) Trey Grayson is resigning to become director of the Harvard Institute for Politics. Governor Steve Beshear has appointed Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker to replace Grayson.

Here are the details.

There are essentially two types of pollsters. One type conducts polls for campaign use. The other conducts them for public consumption (Survey USA’s Bluegrass Polls, for example).  A group of 19 campaign pollsters are calling out public pollsters for not being open enough about how they conduct their polls.

From Politico:

The letter called on public pollsters to adhere to more professional standards by fully disclosing their methodology, including sampling, sample design and question wording, and on the media to hold public pollsters to a standard of transparency.

The public pollsters’ response? Get off your high horse.

Tom Jensen, director of the Democratic automated polling firm Public Policy Polling — which had a breakout year in enhancing its public profile — said it was presumptuous to call for openness when the campaign pollsters’ own work rarely sees the light of day. When internal campaign polls are released, he noted, it’s almost always because a campaign is trying to convince the media and the public that it’s doing better than the public polls show.

Jensen uses a local case to back up his argument:

Jensen pointed to a pair of internal campaign polls released in advance of Kentucky’s May Republican Senate primary that seemed to show Trey Grayson within striking distance of Rand Paul, at a time when public polls showed Paul with healthy leads. (Paul won the primary by 23 points.)

“That was a case where the public polling was very accurate and the campaigns were putting out very misleading information,” Jensen said. “They weren’t releasing the full surveys, just a number. I don’t know how you could have possibly found Rand Paul and Trey Grayson tied in a poll in early May unless [the horse-race question] came after extensive negative message testing on Paul.”


Rand Paul is in the center of a growing frenzy over his comments about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He’s now released a statement clarifying his position.

As Joe Gerth says,

Paul had said he opposed the portion of the law that prohibits businesses from discriminating on the grounds of race, saying that in a free society people and businesses should be allowed to do things that many in society oppose.

And on that, issue, Paul has not changed his position.

That’s in line with his previous statements, and Paul’s stance is drawing heavy criticism. One critic is 3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth, who released a statement that began with the following sentence:

The comments by Senate candidate Rand Paul opposing the Civil Rights Act are simply appalling, and make it abundantly clear that he has no place holding public office in Kentucky in the 21st century.

Paul’s rival, Jack Conway has released a statement about the whole situation, but a few folks–especially on Twitter–seem to think Conway isn’t hitting Paul hard enough.

Republicans are preparing to fight the negative attention. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who supported Paul in the primary, says he will talk to the candidate, and Paul’s primary rival Trey Grayson will attend Saturday’s GOP unity rally with Paul and Senator Mitch McConnell.

Both sides have different takes on Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul‘s latest statements. Detractors say Paul has already stumbled during his primary victory lap by saying on YouTube, NPR and MSNBC that he does not favor certain aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Joe Gerth at the Courier-Journal says this:

…[Paul] repeatedly refused to answer direct questons and on several occasions equated the racism African Americans faced in the 1960s to business owners refusing to allow patrons to care guns in their businesses.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, who has a morning show on MSNBC, said this morning that Paul must recant his position before the end of the day or his goose is cooked.

This isn’t the end of this story.

Paul’s supporters say the discussion is a distraction, and observers should pay attention to the path instead of the stumble. Ben Smith at Politico has this:

“I’ve never eally favored any change in the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “They seem to have unleashed some of the loony left on me.”

Paul called the Civil Rights Act “settled” but suggested he does view federal regulation of private business on matters of racial discrimination as fundamentally unconstitutional.

A sympathetic Ingraham questioned his political judgement in appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, where he was pressed on the question yesterday.

“Why the heck would you go on the Rachel Maddow Show?” she askd. “What do you think you’re going to get when you go on Rachel Maddow’s show?”

“The prob with Rachel and most people from the left is they want to make this an issue about you supporting abhorrent practices which i don’t support,” he said, again pronouncing himself a foe of “institutional racism.”

Your thoughts?

Other outlets have noted that Paul’s primary campaign was more traditionally conservative than libertarian. Democratic nominee Jack Conway was on Hardball recently discussing Paul’s libertarian-leaning ideas, and it seems that the most political hay can be made in the race by highlighting the areas where Paul contrasts with mainstream Republicans. Whether voters will respond or let fiscal conservatism trump all has yet to be seen. Trey Grayson‘s efforts to depict Paul as out of sync never caught on in the primary, but there are more people (in other parties, in Kentucky and nationally) who are interested now.

Senator Jim Bunning appears in Rand Paul‘s latest campaign ad. Will this upset moderates or encourage the base?

Trey Grayson continues saying Rand Paul has strange ideas, in an effort likely aimed at less libertarian-leaning Republican voters.

And an outside group has also launched an anti-Paul ad.

The Washington Post has a piece on Kentucky’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate, with a focus on the contest between Trey Grayson and Rand Paul. The article features this exchange about which candidate is more of an outsider:

“They go, and they stay too long, they lose their way, and as they do they become corrupted by the system,” Paul, 47, an eye surgeon making his first run for office, told a group of about 30 supporters over breakfast at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken in the tiny town of Albany. “The longer you’re there, the more you succumb to the power, the more you think you are somehow different or more important than the rest.”

McConnell was unavailable for an interview, and his spokesman declined to comment for this article. But Grayson rejected the idea that the race has become a referendum on McConnell or Grayson’s connection to him. “He’s actually got more D.C. ties than me,” Grayson said of Paul.

He’s also sure that McConnell is an asset, despite his five terms in office. They’re both so sure, in fact, that the senator, after months of behind-the-scenes support, jumped in last week with a public endorsement.

(via Page One)

Republican Senate hopefuls Rand Paul and Trey Grayson are both scheduled to appear today on Talk of the Nation, as part of NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin‘s Political Junkie segment. WFPL will air the segment at 2:00 pm.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Rand Paul has received an endorsement from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.

DeMint’s nod rivals Paul’s opponent Trey Grayson‘s endorsement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

DeMint is a Tea Party favorite and may be eying McConnell’s leadership post. If Paul wins, it will put Kentucky’s two senators at odds on many issues. That’s nothing new, though, as McConnell and outgoing Senator Jim Bunning (who also supports Paul) were no model of teamwork.

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