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CNN "Anderson Cooper 360 Degress" - Transcript

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

COOPER: Well, since that debate over the weekend, fellow Democrats have been split on the Conway ad, with name, namely Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, saying it comes close to crossing the line.

Also since then, Mr. Conway seems to be getting a lift in the polls.

Rand Paul doesn't come on CNN these days, but Jack Conway has. He joined me just a few moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You claim you're not attacking Rand Paul's religion in this ad, but the narrator in the commercial sure seems to be questioning whether Rand Paul is a Christian.

Do you believe he's a Christian?

CONWAY: Oh, listen, I'm not questioning his faith. I'm questioning his actions.

What happened here, Anderson, is -- is, some time ago, evidently, the -- the president of Baylor -- Baylor University banned this group. And he banned them because they were -- quote, unquote -- "making fun of Christianity and Christ."

And we're asking the question, why did he knowingly join a group known for mocking people of faith, and -- and when, if ever, is it appropriate, whether you're 22 years old or 42 years old, to ever tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol?

And these -- these allegations have been out there some time now. Six different reputable media groups have been reporting them for some time now. And Rand Paul has not answered the questions.

COOPER: But...

CONWAY: He hasn't denied this.

COOPER: ... you say, though, you're not attacking his faith. You're just attacking -- talking about his -- his actions. But, I mean, your -- your commercial has a series of questions, and the only link between them is faith, saying his group mocked Christianity, made someone bow before a false idol, that he wants to end federal faith- based initiatives and deductions for religious charities.

These are all separate things, and the only link between them is religion. That's not a coincidence.

CONWAY: Well, listen, values matter. And -- and it is -- it is a question of why he would -- why he would join a secret society at Baylor that mocked religion. I mean, I don't think you should ever mock faith in any way at any age.

And Rand Paul has come out and said that the federal government doesn't need to be involved in faith-based initiatives. He's come for a 23 percent national sales tax and a new sales tax program that would do away with charitable deductions. And -- and that's not all the sort of off-the-wall stuff he's -- he -- he's come out with.

COOPER: But, but -- but...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: I mean, he has -- he's questioned fundamental principles of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, too.

COOPER: But those are not things you mention in your commercials. The only thing you are mentioning in commercials are questions about his faith.

And, so, it does beg the question, it does seem -- I mean, you can say you're only talking about actions. It does leave in the mind of voters certainly who see this commercial questions about his faith.

CONWAY: Well, listen, I take him at his word on his faith. And the question is...

COOPER: You -- you believe he is a Christian? CONWAY: ... why won't Rand Paul answer for his actions?

CONWAY: Sure. Sure. I -- I'm not questioning his faith. I'm questioning his actions.

And when -- when, if ever, is it appropriate to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol? I mean, that is not appropriate behavior at any age.

COOPER: But, look, this was, you know, nearly 30 years ago, and this was a group, like the Harvard Lampoon or some sort of satirical group that clearly were collegiate level humor, not very funny perhaps. But, you know, are you implying that, you know, he's kidnapping people? Are you implying that it's somehow criminal?

CONWAY: No, I didn't -- I didn't -- listen, no, no, no, no, no, I'm not implying criminal. And the woman came out again today, Anderson. I hope you saw the piece in "The Washington Post." And she said our ad was correct.

COOPER: Well, she said your ad was over the top.

CONWAY: And FactCheck.org said our ad was correct.

COOPER: Accurate, but over the top.

CONWAY: Well, but she also said what -- what -- what she said, she didn't like the music and -- and -- and she didn't like -- and -- and she called it that, but, also, what she was, it's -- it's essentially correct.

COOPER: But does an incident that may or may not have occurred 27 years ago, does it really matter to voters today, given all the things that people are facing, all the things, the problems that people are having in their own lives?

CONWAY: Yes. Yes. In this -- in this case, it does matter.

COOPER: Doesn't everybody do stupid stuff in college or when they're in late teens, early 20s?

CONWAY: Sure, sure, everyone does stupid stuff. But -- but Rand Paul is denying that this happened. And -- and the woman, what she says, Anderson, is, she says, you know, why is he denying his past? Why not just admit what happened and who he is now?

And there's a direct line, Anderson, from his college days. "The Washington Post" last week did a series of stories about Rand Paul's college letters to the editor. And he questioned whether or not two people could ever be equal. You know, I happen to think our creator makes us equal. He questioned whether or not women needed equal protection in the law.

He questioned nondiscrimination laws and consumer protection laws. And you can draw a straight line from those attitudes in college to the positions he has taken in this campaign. COOPER: What's the name of the woman who made these allegations?

CONWAY: Well, the woman who has made the allegations has -- has remained anonymous.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, you -- you don't know, nor does anyone know, really, who she is, other than some -- one or two reporters who have talked to her -- talked to her?

CONWAY: Other -- other than the reporters for "The Washington Post" and "GQ" and the other -- and the people -- it's been presented in "The Louisville Courier-Journal," "The Herald-Leader," CBS News.

One gentleman named Mr. Green has gone on record who was a compatriot of Rand Paul's in this secret society and said, yes, they -- they aspired to sacrilege and Rand Paul reveled in it. So, he has -- he has former members of this society that have gone on record about...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But does it concern you, though, to be basing so much of your campaign in these final days and this television commercial on a nameless person who won't come forward, who won't -- and, for all we know, I mean, this is -- you're an attorney. You couldn't put this person on a stand. They're not willing to come forward. You couldn't put these statements in court.

CONWAY: Look, she -- Anderson, she -- she -- she has -- she has called it -- she has called it sadistic and she has called it weird. And she's talked about it on multiple occasions.

COOPER: But -- but we don't know who she is. She could be making up a story, and -- and we don't know.

CONWAY: Yes, but -- well, but we know that the president of Baylor University banned the group. We know that Rand Paul has appeared on the cover of the magazine with articles that mocked Christianity therein.

We know Mr. Green has come forward to talk about his days in college. And you asked what we're talking about on the campaign trail. Yes, this is one thing we're talking about on the campaign trail, because values matter.

COOPER: A lot of people are not standing up for the commercials that they're putting in the air. Rand Paul won't come on this program. I appreciate you coming on the program. Whether people agree with the commercial or not, at least you're standing up and defending it. Thanks for being on.

CONWAY: My pleasure, Anderson.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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