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Rand Paul Says He's Boycotting George Stephanopoulos Over Close Ties to Clintons

"...it just is what it is..."

George Stephanopoulos interviews former President Bill Clinton about the Clinton Global Initiative happening in New York City this week. The interview airs September 24, 2014 on 'Good Morning America' (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Thursday he has avoided interviews with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos for the last year or so, over concerns that he is just too close to the Clintons, especially as the 2016 presidential election gets closer.

"For the last year or so we haven't gone on, particularly since it's looked like a contest where I may be in the contest against Hillary Clinton," Paul said on Fox News Thursday night.

"We've made the decision that he's too close to the Clintons to really give an objective interview," he said. "And I don't mean that to be mean, it just is what it is."

Paul said he first became worried about Stephanopoulos' ties to the Clintons during the 2012 presidential campaign, when he hosted a debate with GOP candidate Mitt Romney. Paul said Stephanopoulos grilled Romney about the details of a court case dealing with birth control, and said those questions were later used by Democrats in the campaign.

"Lo and behold, it became this big campaign theme later on for the Democrats," he said. "And then we'd see stories that Stephanopoulos every day still communicated with Rahm Emanuel and with [James] Carville, with people at the White House."

"And I thought it very unusual that people thought that he could be an independent or objective moderator when he had such close ties for decades to the Clintons," Paul added.

Stephanopoulos admitted on Thursday to giving the Clinton Foundation $75,000, and then apologized for not disclosing those donations. The apology came after he interviewed the author of a book that has raised questions about how the Clinton Foundation raised its money, and whether those donations were tied to political favors.

Paul said Thursday that Stephanopoulos shouldn't moderate any of the 2016 debates, and soon afterwards, Stephanopoulos said he would not participate in those debates. Paul said he was "glad" to hear that development.

Also Thursday, the communications director for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said his boss wouldn't go on ABC at all until Stephanopoulos recused himself from all coverage of the 2016 campaign.

Paul said Stephanopoulos' contributions don't "look right" to him.

"The latest revelations that he gave a lot of money to the Clinton Foundation, the question is, is that a payment for access," he said. "And I don't know that it is, I think he probably would have gotten access to the Clintons anyway, but it doesn't look right."

One last thing…
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