Grayson, Paul spar in Louisville

jbrammer@herald-leader.comFebruary 19, 2010 

LOUISVILLE — Republican U.S. Senate candidates Trey Grayson and Rand Paul clashed Friday night on the controversial issue of holding terrorists at Guantanamo.

Grayson, Kentucky's secretary of state, said he favors keeping open the prison camp in Cuba but that Paul disagreed with him and had said terrorists should be returned to Afghanistan.

Paul, a Bowling Green eye surgeon and the son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, countered that Grayson was being "intellectually dishonest" by taking one of his quotes out of context.

Paul said he actually had said terrorists should be deported if the United States can't convict them.

Grayson and Paul spoke Friday night to about 400 people at the Jefferson County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner.

Jefferson County, the state's most populous county, represents about 15 percent of the state's 1,029,304 Republicans.

During three-minute speeches by each candidate, Grayson did not mention his chief rival by name but Paul took issue with Grayson by name.

Grayson told the audience that Washington should spend less and that America's military should be fully funded.

He also touted the endorsement he received earlier in the day from the Kentucky Right to Life Association.

During his speech, Paul called for a halt to travel visas from nations that sponsor terrorism.

He also criticized the heavy use of earmarks in federal legislation for such items as money for a petting zoo in Indiana contained in a homeland security bill.

Another Republican U.S. Senate candidate at the dinner, Todd County businessman Bill Johnson, told the party faithful that he favors marriage between one man and one woman, and he is pro-life.

He also said he believes in the "Three Rs: Ronald Reagan Republican."

Drawing the loudest applause of the evening was GOP U.S. Senate candidate John Stephenson, a former state schools chief.

Stephenson said he was for term limits. "One is all I can physically serve," he said.

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