Monica Lewinsky: Why is Rand Paul talking about her?

Monica Lewinsky was Sen. Rand Paul's response to Democrats criticizing Republicans for being out-of-touch on women's issues. Rand Paul didn't specifically name "Monica Lewisky," but did reference Bill Clinton's "predatory behavior" with a White House intern.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Sen. Rand Paul, (R) of Kentucky. said Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” that Democrats should remember President Clinton’s sexual affair with a White House intern before turning their criticism to Republicans’ attitudes toward women.

Sen. Rand Paul is defending his fellow Republicans against criticism that the party is out-of-touch on women's issues by reminding voters that the Democrats' last president had an affair with a White House intern.

The Kentucky Republican's Sunday mention of President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky comes as Democrats have been redoubling their efforts to paint the GOP as a party that stands opposed to women on issues such as contraception, abortion rights and equal pay. After losing back-to-back presidential elections, the GOP has tried to improve its outreach to female voters, who reliably support Democratic candidates.

Those GOP efforts stumbled this week, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talked about women's "libido" and "their reproductive system" while addressing the Republican National Committee. While Huckabee said Democrats were the ones who were patronizing women in their pitch for government-sponsored birth control, Democrats quickly seized on Huckabee's phrasing to underscore their campaign.

"The scariest part is that he thinks they're going to be able to convince voters that they're the new party for women," wrote EMILY's List, a political committee dedicated to electing pro-abortion rights women to office.

Paul, rejecting the criticism of the GOP and trying to turn the tables, said Democrats should examine their former president and his infidelity.

"He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office," Paul said. "There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior."

Lewinsky was 22 at the time of her first liaison with Clinton in November 1995.

Paul's remarks come as he weighs a presidential campaign in 2016 — an endeavor that could bring him face to face with former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, if she decides to run for the White House.

Paul said that Bill Clinton's infidelity shouldn't be used against Hillary Rodham Clinton if she seeks the Democratic nomination for president. "Now, it's not Hillary's fault," he said.

But of the Clintons, he added "sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other."

Bill Clinton's lies about his relationship with Lewinsky were among the reasons the House cited in voting to impeach Clinton in 1998. The Senate acquitted him.

"Someone who takes advantage of a young girl in their office? I mean, really. And then they have the gall to stand up and say, 'Republicans are having a war on women?'" Paul told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to