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Rand Paul Still Noisily Refusing To Deny Aqua Buddha Prank

Reported by Ellen - October 19, 2010 -

Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul visited the Hannity show tonight for yet another round of Republican Rehab, this time after Paul’s recent debate in which Democrat Jack Conway got completely under Paul’s skin by bringing up Paul’s “Aqua Buddha” prank in college. I really don’t understand why Paul doesn’t just either confirm that he exercised poor judgment as a student or just outright deny the allegation. But his outraged non-denials only served to make him look like a guilty man covering up something. Not that Hannity would think so – or if he did, point it out to the "we report, you decide" network's audience. Hannity didn’t even report that earlier in the day, the woman who was the prank’s victim said that Conway’s accusations are true and raise legitimate questions.

The Aqua Buddha stunt and Paul’s college days at the mostly-conservative Baylor University were described in August by GQ:

According to several of (Paul’s) former Baylor classmates, he became a member of a secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood, which was a refuge for atypical Baylor students. "You could have taken 90 percent of the liberal thinkers at Baylor and found them in this small group," recalls Marc Burckhardt, one of Paul's former NoZe Brothers. Sort of a cross between Yale's Skull & Bones and Harvard's Lampoon, the NoZe existed to torment the Baylor administration, which it accomplished through pranks and its satirical newspaper The Rope. The group especially enjoyed tweaking the school's religiosity. "We aspired to blasphemy," says John Green, another of Paul's former NoZe Brothers.

…The strangest episode of Paul's time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 (although memories about all of these events are understandably a bit hazy, so the date might be slightly off), when he and a NoZe brother paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul's teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, "He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking pot." After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. "They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman recalls. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.' At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no."

Nearly 30 years later, the woman is still trying to make sense of that afternoon. "They never hurt me, they never did anything wrong, but the whole thing was kind of sadistic. They were messing with my mind. It was some kind of joke."

Hannity’s light tone and direct question clearly indicated that he didn’t think the whole issue was any big deal. “Did you ever tie any women up and have them kneel before their god… Aqua Buddha? Did you ever do that?”

But Paul’s indignant outrage suggested he thought it was a big deal. “How do you even respond to something so ridiculous?”

Hannity sputtered and laughed. “I’ve got to ask the question. It’s my job.”

But despite the indignation, Paul was cagey: “Here was my response in the debate. My response in the debate was, when someone says, ‘When did you quit beating your wife?’ How do you respond? I mean, how do you respond to things like hearsay and gossip from 30 years ago? You know, there was a time when hearsay and gossip was used to condemn men. It was 12th Century Venice. I mean, for goodness sakes. Are we still in medieval times?”

How do you respond? An unequivocal yes or no would do it.

Hannity even hinted to Paul that he could just acknowledge the incident and move on. “I can’t imagine, maybe beyond a college prank of some kind that any college student – you or anybody else, tying up anybody and having them kneel before Aqua Buddha.”

Paul said, “The thing is, is look. I’m a pro-life Christian. I’ve never written or said anything to indicate otherwise.” Interesting that he never said whether he had done anything to indicate otherwise. Also, as far as I can tell, the Aqua Buddha incident had nothing to do with abortion. Nevertheless, Paul continued, “I got up in my church when I was 17 and talked about how we weren’t doing enough to stop abortion in my church. For them to say that I’m not a Christian, it’s just really an unfair attack. And to say all of these accusations are from anonymous sources. I mean it really is strange that we live in a world, a medieval type of world, where someone can accuse you, through gossip and hearsay, and all of a sudden you’re supposed to respond to specific charges from people you don’t know, are not aware of who these people are and you’re supposed to respond to their specific allegations? I think really, we’ve stooped to a new low in America.”

At Crooks and Liars, Karoli perfectly summed up Paul’s similar comments during the debate, “Anyone who has raised a teenager sees right through Paul's response. Faux outrage; martyred victimhood.”

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