08/22/2013 06:37 pm ET Updated Aug 22, 2013

Rand Paul Disagrees With RNC Debate Decision Despite Earlier Support

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has switched his stance on the Republican National Committee's decision to not partner with CNN or NBC for the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates because of planned films on Hillary Clinton, saying he disagrees with the move.

“I don’t know exactly whether any kind of prohibition should be made on a network,” Paul told National Review Online in an interview published Thursday.

Paul previously said he supported RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' effort against CNN and NBC. In an August interview with Geraldo Rivera, Paul said Republican presidential contenders may not get "a fair shake" if primary debates are moderated by people like ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who Paul noted has publicly talked about his frequent correspondence with friends still involved in White House affairs.

HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery reported earlier:

Paul also took issue with the way primary debates are structured, suggesting that some of the journalists serving as moderators may have ties to the Democratic Party.

“Should we be scheduling debates and allowing people who used to, and still do, have contact with the active Democrat Party?" Paul asked. "Should we be subjecting ourselves to that or should we try to have more neutral or objective type of moderators?”

Asked if he was alleging that Stephanopoulos is a Democratic plant, Paul replied, "I'm saying that it makes you wonder."

Stephanopoulos was a top aide to Bill Clinton from 1992 until 1996, both on his campaign and in the White House, but since then has arguably earned his journalistic bona fides. He's currently the chief political correspondent for ABC News and the host of ABC's Sunday show, "This Week.'

Though he now says he disagrees with the RNC's decision, Paul did reiterate his belief that "fair moderators" are important to any debate.

“I think that a Republican primary is for Republicans, and we’re trying to get to a Republican audience, so if there’s a presidential primary, I think we ought to choose people who are going to be fair moderators,” Paul told National Review. “I’ve been with fair moderators on all the networks, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a network thing, but I think it is finding someone who is not thought to be already agreed with the other side.”


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