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Rand Paul on criticism over treatment of women: they 'have come a long way'

• http://www.theguardian.com

Rand Paul, one of two declared candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, on Sunday answered criticism of his behaviour towards female interviewers by saying such women "have come a long way", are "intelligent" and "should be equal to their counterparts and treated equally".

Paul was appearing on CNN after a week in which he announced his candidacy, following the Texas senator Ted Cruz, and was criticised for a subsequent interview with NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie.

Speaking to CNN host Dana Bash in an interview filmed in Iowa City after he ended an interview with the Guardian early, causing further widespread comment, Paul was asked if he would "pull his punches" with women interviewers from now on.

"I think women have come a long way," he said. "Women are in these positions not because they're women but because they're intelligent and they should be equal to their counterparts and treated equally.

"But I can tell you that the interviewers in the last couple of days, I think, probably got it easier than what I gave to [former New York governor] Eliot Spitzer on your programme here."

Paul added: "I would not come into our interview thinking, 'OK, it's a woman versus a man kind of interview.' I just think she's going to have tough questions, I'm going to have tough questions, and I've got to be prepared."

Asked by NBC's Guthrie about his changed positions on some foreign policy points, Paul had said: "Why don't we let me explain instead of talking over me, OK? Before we go through a litany of things you say I've changed on, why don't you ask me a question: 'Have I changed my opinion?'"

The senator also accused Guthrie of "editorialising" his views, in an exchange which reminded some critics of a February interview with CNBC in which he "shushed" host Kelly Evans and told her to "calm down".

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On CNN, Paul repeated his complaint about "editorialising" by journalists.

"I'm unwilling to let people characterise things unfairly, and if someone's going to write an op-ed on me ... that's fair for them to try to do it, but it's also fair for me to try to set the record straight and say they're editorialising in the question," he said.


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