Democrats took little time Tuesday to blast U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's presidential ambitions.
Within an hour after the Bowling Green Republican announced his candidacy on his website, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and civil rights advocate and former Kentucky state Sen. Georgia Davis Powers of Louisville accused Paul of trying to reinvent himself.
Joined by College Democrats of America president Natasha McKenzie in a national telephone conference call, the three claimed that Paul's views remain outside the mainstream and are bad for the middle class.
Powers, who was the first black and woman to serve in the Kentucky Senate, strongly criticized Paul on civil rights and voting rights.
"We should let the public know who he really is and how he has changed his position," he said.
Paul created a stir during his U.S. Senate race in 2010 when he told The Courier-Journal's editorial board that he likes the Civil Rights Act and thinks it's a bad business decision for anyone to exclude anybody from their business.
"But, at the same time," he added, "I do believe in private ownership."
At a speech at historically black Howard University two years ago, Paul said he has never been against the Civil Rights Act and he remains for it and the Voting Rights Act.
He said the dispute "has always been about how much of the remedy should come under federal or state or private purview."
Asked about Paul's efforts to increase the GOP's appeal to black voters, Powers said Paul is "simply reaching out to the minority voters to win.
"We see through that," she said.
Powers, who said she had to stay in segregated hotels when she first went to the Kentucky Senate in 1967, said Paul needs to understand that "we solve problems with more democracy, not less."
His record, she said, disqualifies him to lead this country in the 21st century.
Schultz, a U.S. representative from Florida, said Paul will harm this country by trying to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education, belittling the rights of the LGBT community, taking away quality affordable health care that President Obama has brought to millions of Americans, and calling for less aid to Israel.
McKenzie, a student at Trinity Washington University, said it's "frustrating" that some Americans consider Paul "a millennial outreach expert."
She claimed that Paul opposes many issues that young Americans embrace, including gay rights and cheaper refinancing of student loans.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized Paul for trying to run at the same time for president and the U.S. Senate in 2016.
DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky said in a statement that Paul's decision to run for president confirms that he "views representing Kentucky as nothing more than a consolation prize, and Democrats are ready to put together a strong campaign that will give Kentucky a full-time senator."