Talking Points Memo reports:
Kentucky’s incoming Senator is pushing back hard on critics who claim he has sold out when it comes to earmarks. Republican Rand Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer today that concerns that he backed away from his pledge to refuse federally-funded pet projects, a key tenet of his tea party-fueled campaign, just aren’t warranted.
“I won’t use earmarks as a senator,” Paul told Blitzer. As he had on the campaign trail, Paul said earmarking “shows some of the abuse of Washington” and promised he won’t be among the Senators who participate in the process. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try to get money for Kentucky through the open appropriations process.
Conservatives got upset at Paul after a Wall Street Journal article from the weekend reported Paul had offered a “shift” on “his campaign pledge to end earmarks.” That led National Review to worry Paul was “selling out already.”
On CNN, Paul dismissed the article. In a flashback to the campaign trail — when Paul’s early national media appearances haunted him for months — the Sen.-elect said the Journal had misquoted him and demanded a correction.
“We called him and asked him to correct that,” Paul said of Journal scribe Matthew Kaminski, who conducted the interview. “I never, ever said earmark.”