Democrats on Wednesday indicated that their emerging strategy for fighting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination is to say he has a problem with women.
Paul on Wednesday got into a tense back and forth with a female anchor from NBC in which he accused her of editorializing about his views instead of simply asking about his views. "Why don't we let me explain instead of you talking over me, okay?" he said.
In February, Paul had another run-in with a CNBC anchor, who he accused of holding "slanted" views about his position. That led Paul to shush the host.
Those events have given Democrats an opening to argue that Paul is essentially anti-woman. The fight spilled out into the open Wednesday afternoon, as NBC's Chuck Todd said that Paul's awkward conversations with female hosts are "turning into a habit."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) also took a turn, after Paul criticized a reporter in New Hampshire for asking him detailed questions about abortion — the reporter in this case was a male. Paul finally argued that Republicans are routinely asked specific questions about when abortions are and aren't acceptable, and complained that Democrats are never asked those questions.
"You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she's okay with killing a seven pound baby that is just not yet born yet," he said, according to CNN. "Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when she's willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me."
Wasserman Schultz used that comment as a chance to argue that Paul doesn't want women to have any say in the issue at all, and that the government should decide these questions.
"I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved," she said in an answer that essentially dodged Paul's specific question. "Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul."
"We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women — but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of 'personal liberty'?" she asked.
She also got in a dig at Paul's CNBC interview.
"And I'd appreciate it if you could respond without 'shushing' me."
But in an interview with CNN Wednesday, Paul said he's equally snippy with both male and female reporters, and said reporters should ask questions instead of editorializing.
"I think I've been universally short-tempered and testy with both male and female reporters," he said. "I'll own up to that."