When Rand Paul steps in it

As Paul has sought to stand out from the clustered GOP presidential field, he’s finding that his freewheeling, off-the-cuff speaking style can cut both ways. His supporters say it’s what’s refreshing about him: He’s not a typical programmed pol who spews the same talking points over and over; there’s an authenticity that’s rare in today’s poll-driven politics, they say. But his critics say it betrays a lack of discipline that should concern Republicans in a general election — when any rhetorical blunder can trigger a media circus lasting days — let alone in the White House.

In an interview, Paul spurned advice he often receives to “say the same thing over and over again,” even as he acknowledged his comments are “not always perfect.”

“People have to choose what they want,” he told POLITICO this week. “If they want robots, who say the same thing over and over again, there are plenty of them. If they want something more genuine, where everything is not always perfect — we’ll see what people want. I am who I am.”…

“The comments I said about ISIS, I’ve said 1,000 times,” Paul said. “I used one different word — which is probably not the correct word — the ‘created’ word. I probably should have said, ‘enabled’ or ‘make worse.’ And all things I’ve said, a million times, and I still believe that.”