Welcome to national politics, Rand Paul.
Less than 48 hours after securing the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, Mr. Paul stepped into "it" feet and entire body first by questioning the 1964 Civil Rights laws.
In this full report from The New York Times, Mr. Paul purportedly said the following to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow:
“I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race. But I think what’s important about this debate is not written into any specific ‘gotcha’ on this, but asking the question: what about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking?”
On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Paul began to backtrack on his comments (and his father, former presidential candidate Ron Paul, tried to jump to his son's defense), but at least for this news cycle the damage had been done.
More importantly, as noted in this Louisville Courier-Journal story, Mr. Paul didn't adequately address the controversy over what he said:
At issue is his stated belief that while government was right to prohibit discrimination in public agencies and by organizations that receive public funds, private businesses should have the right to make race-based decisions about which customers they serve.
Mr. Paul? We are waiting.