The Rand Paul Kidnapping Story Deflates

No word yet on Aqua Buddha and the bong rips

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This week started off pretty rough for Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul. At the outset, the men's magazine GQ published a skeletons-in-the-closet profile of him with all sorts of sordid details the online world couldn't possibly resist. It alleged that Paul, in his college years at Baylor University, tied up a female classmate, forced her to take bong hits and urged her to worship the god "Aqua Buddha. " In no time, headlines like "Bongs and Kidnapping?" exploded across the Web.

Now, Paul's alleged victim is speaking out and any allegations of kidnapping seem pretty far fetched. In an interview with the Washington Post, the woman said "The whole thing has been blown out of proportion... They didn't force me, they didn't make me... I went along because they were my friends." Her clarification didn't make a huge splash but some took notice:

  • That's Vindication for Paul, writes Dan Amira at New York Magazine: "Paul was right. He never kidnapped anyone, except in a pretend way, and never forced anyone to do drugs."

  • I'm Still Surprised He Didn't Outright Refute the Story from the Beginning, writes Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly: "I still don't know why the bizarre candidate didn't just issue a statement from the outset: 'Like a lot of people, I was part of some silly stunts as a teenager, but I certainly never hurt anyone. This was all a long time ago and I've matured since.'"

  • The Main Problem: The Story Was Oversold, tweets David Weigel: "The way I read it, Aqua Buddha lady didn't change her story at all. The story just got sexed up by hed writers."

  • On to the Next Challenge, writes Matt Lewis at Politics Daily: "For now, at least, this mini-scandal appears to be over. But Paul won't get off the hook so easy. The latest narrative is that locals don't believe his 'Kentucky IQ' is high enough..."

  • Lawsuit on the Way?  After the article was published, Paul hinted at the possibility of suing GQ. Now this woman's clarification "puts Esquire in quite a position," Taylor Marsh writes.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.