FRANKFORT — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul softened his stance Thursday on the federal government's response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Almost two weeks after saying that President Barack Obama's criticisms of BP sounded "really un-American," Paul told a Louisville radio station that government regulations of offshore drilling were not adequate.
Paul, calling the spill "a great tragedy," told Tony Cruise on WHAS-AM that "I think we do have to have regulations, and we do have regulations in place but apparently wasn't enough.
"And sometimes even the best of regulations don't work because something unforeseen happens and that's what we have to figure out from this."
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Those remarks sounded a much different tone than ones he made last month on ABC's Good Morning America.
"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" Paul said on ABC. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."
Paul told ABC that Obama's response is part of the "blame game" prevalent in the U.S., creating the attitude that tragedies are "always someone's fault."
Paul said Thursday that "the primary thing right now is not to pass judgment before we know what happened and try to fix the problem."
He said an investigation will be necessary once the gushing oil well is capped.
Paul also said on the radio show that "a lie from Jack Conway," his Democratic opponent in November's general election, started the media flap concerning his stance on civil rights.
Paul said a day after winning the May 18 Republican primary election that he abhors racism but federal law should not dictate to private businesses whom they should serve.
"Jack Conway got on MSNBC and said I was for repealing the Civil Rights Act, which is not my position, has never been my position and basically was a lie," Paul said Thursday.
"So you get a politician like Jack Conway, who basically makes up stuff — lies — and then a liberal network just repeated it over and over."
Conway has said he never started the flap and that his comments shortly after the election were based on an interview Paul had in April with The Courier-Journal's editorial board in which he said a private business should be able to decide whom to serve.