Rep. Ron Paul said Thursday the criticism of his son Rand Paul's comments regarding the 1964 Civil Rights Act is "unfair" and dismissed the fracas as an attempt by the left to hurt his son's Senate campaign.
"I think it's contrived because he's done so well and the left has to knock him down," the Texas Republican said.
Rand Paul, the GOP nominee in the Kentucky Senate race, ignited a political firestorm this week by suggesting he disagrees with the landmark civil rights law's prohibition on segregation at privately owned facilities open to the public.
"It's not fair," Ron Paul said, adding that as a parent it was hard to see his son pilloried on the national stage and to see his libertarian views characterized as racist.
"Politics can sometime be nasty and I think there is a lot of resentment because he all of a sudden became a star," he said.
Asked by a reporter if Rand Paul's campaign could "recover" from his comments, Ron Paul said there was nothing to recover from, and the suggestion that there is was "an insult."
"What does he have to recover from?" Paul said. "Go to Kentucky and talk to the people. He's just had a referendum; gets 59 percent of the vote and you are talking about recovering? That's an insult."
On Thursday, Rand Paul sought to clarify his comments. In a lengthy statement, he said — "unequivocally" — that he will not support efforts to repeal the law and that he supports it.
Ron Paul, who ran for president in 2008, dismissed the notion that Rand Paul's controversial comments would cost him votes in the general election.
"My views tend to be controversial and my support continues to grow," he said.