06/18/2010 10:25 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rand Paul: Big Oil Deserves Profits, But Should Obey Some Rules

(AP) - Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul still doesn't like the Obama administration's tone toward BP, but says the oil giant should pay to clean up the massive Gulf oil spill.

Speaking to an oil and gas group in Louisville, Paul said Thursday evening that he supports the industry's right to make a profit, but said the industry also has to obey some rules.

Paul toned down his criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Earlier in the campaign, he accused the administration of sounding "un-American" in its criticism of BP.

On Thursday, Paul said the president has the ability to "talk a business out of business simply by talking down their stock." Paul said it's not good for the cleanup effort to try to put BP out of business.

Paul's Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, was invited but did not attend the event due to a scheduling conflict.