BOWLING GREEN — The wife of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul defended her husband on Wednesday, calling a TV ad that raises questions about her husband's religious beliefs "a desperate, shameful attack on our family."
Kelley Paul held a press conference in Bowling Green to defend her husband's Christian faith, saying the two have been members of a local Presbyterian church for about 18 years.
Since late last week, Democrat Jack Conway has been airing an ad that focuses on allegations that Paul was affiliated during college with a group that mocked Christianity and that he worshipped a god he called "Aqua Buddha." Kelley Paul called it "a desperate, shameful attack on our family."
The odd topic has so dominated the news in Kentucky that it's been difficult for either candidate to expound on other issues.
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"I could hardly believe my eyes when I first saw it, and neither could our three sons, who are ages 11, 14 and 17," she said.
Kelley Paul, a church deacon, spoke to reporters in a local convention center while her husband, an eye surgeon, treated patients across town. She stepped forward to address the issue on her 20th wedding anniversary.
"I am truly shocked by Conway's ads questioning Rand's character and his faith based on nothing more than anonymous accusations from nearly three decades ago," she said. "Rand and I are both Christians and our faith is very important to us."
Paul said she's hoping that her husband can get back to discussing real issues in the final two weeks of the race.
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton said his staff decided this morning to arrange for Kelley Paul to speak to reporters to "highlight" the public outcry about the ad, which has been denounced by both Republicans and Democrats. Christian leaders also have criticized the ad, saying many people had done things during their college years that they'd rather not have publicized.
Kelley Paul chided Conway for the "personal, gutter attacks."
"At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror, and I'm proud to say that my husband will be able to do that when this race is over," she said.