FRANKFORT — Democrat Jack Conway drew another dividing line in Kentucky's race for U.S. Senate Wednesday, saying he disagrees with Republican opponent Rand Paul's stance against citizenship for babies of illegal immigrants.
Conway said he supports the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Paul, who has said all laws approved by Congress should point to the portion of the Constitution that allows them, told an English-language Russian television channel shortly after his May 18 primary election victory that children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants should not get citizenship.
Conway said Paul's comments about citizenship were a way to "demagogue the issue and kick the can down the road without doing anything."
Never miss a local story.
Paul knows that pressing for a constitutional amendment, which requires ratification by the states, would be a lengthy process, he said.
"That's not going to happen," Conway said. "The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is well settled."
Paul said in an interview with WTVQ-TV on Sunday that not everyone agrees that the 14th Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, applies to the children of illegal immigrants.
"Some people argue that the 14th Amendment doesn't apply to people who break the law to come in here because you have to be under the jurisdiction of this country," Paul told WTVQ. "And some say, if you have broken the law to come in here, you're still under the jurisdiction of the Mexican government. And so, there is a question."
Paul told the television station that those who wrote the amendment could not have envisioned "that there would be a mass wave of folks coming across breaking the law from Mexico and they would immediately be citizens."
Conway's comments about the citizenship issue and other topics in his race against Paul came Wednesday after a news conference in the Capitol concerning utility rate hike requests. Conway stepped outside of his office into a Capitol hallway to talk to reporters about politics.
Conway said he "found it fascinating" that Paul gave an interview to a Russian TV station.
"I thought the leader of the Republican Party, (U.S. Sen.) Mitch McConnell, had told him he needed to be doing more local media," he said.
Conway also was pressed by reporters Wednesday to say if he plans to ask President Barack Obama, who polls show is unpopular in Kentucky, to campaign for him.
Conway said he would welcome Obama to the state if he wants to visit but the president has "a lot on his plate right now."
"I plan to go out and win this election on my own," he said.
Paul's campaign chairman, David Adams, issued a statement later saying that "Conway and Obama are joined at the hip on ObamaCare, deficit spending, gigantic 'stimulus' bills and lacking respect for Second Amendment rights."
"Only Rand Paul will work to repeal the health care takeover, balance the budget, end wasteful spending and protect our Second Amendment rights," Adams said.