This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Barely a week into his presidential campaign, Rand Paul's candidacy continues to focus at least as much on his temperament and on Hillary Clinton, who'll be announcing her bid later on Sunday, as it does on his own vision for the country.

In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash Sunday morning—one of three scheduled for the day—the Republican Kentucky senator couldn't name a single positive thing Clinton had done as secretary of State. Instead, he zeroed in on the GOP's most-discussed subject when it comes to Clinton: Benghazi.

(RELATED: Subscribe to National Journal's TwentySixteen newsetter)

"I think Benghazi was a 3 a.m. phone call she didn't pick up," Paul said.

He called the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya "an enormous issue" that gets to whether she would be competent as commander-in-chief.

"I think Benghazi was a 3 a.m. phone call she didn't pick up," Paul said, referencing a 2008 Clinton ad for president.

Paul has been on television near-constantly since his announcement, and he blanketed the Sunday shows this week with additional scheduled appearances on NBC's Meet the Press and CBS's Face the Nation. In recent days, reporters keep asking Paul the same categories of questions: whether he has flip-flopped on foreign policy, how he contrasts with Hillary Clinton, and about his sometimes prickly relationship with the press. Sunday was no different.

(RELATED: Follow 2016ers on the campaign trail with National Journal's TwentySixteen Travel Tracker)

Paul—in measured tones—pushed back at several queries regarding his demeanor during interviews.

"I'm always polite, even in interviews when I'm accused of being aggressive," Paul told Bash on Sunday.

"It's going to be hard for her to say she's for women's rights when she's accepting money from Stone Age regimes that abuse the rights of women," Paul told Schieffer.

The interviewers were citing how his interactions with reporters—this week and in precampaign interviews—have often been described as testy: He accused NBC's Savannah Guthrie of "editorializing" with her questions on Paul's stance on foreign aid (which CBS's Bob Schieffer asked Paul to reiterate), and he bit back at the Associated Press for a question about Paul's abortion policy. Paul called his media-bashing "equal opportunity," defending himself against the criticism that he seems to become more highly annoyed with female reporters.

(RELATED: "Hillary Can Be Beat")

When NBC's Chuck Todd asked about his interactions with Guthrie, Paul said he has taken issue with the way journalists frame questions, in particular when they hint he has changed his opinion over his years in office. But his comportment hasn't necessarily hurt him with voters.

"People came up to me of both stripes and said, 'Thank goodness you stood up to the liberal media,'" Paul told Todd. "Other people, maybe my wife, said, 'Count to 10, and try to let them spit out their question, even if it is a biased question.'"

When Bash asked him on Sunday whether this hot-tempered reputation would hurt him going up against a female opponent, Paul said, "I would treat her with the same respect as I would treat a man."

Paul's digital team has also been on the offensive regarding Clinton. On Sunday, they released an anti-Clinton ad that will be airing in the early caucus and primary states. His campaign also has a new Clinton-exclusive page on their website.

On all three programs, Paul pointed out that the Clinton Foundation has accepted donations from countries with less-than-solid reputations when it comes to gender equality, and he tried to paint the former secretary as less than a champion for women.

"It's going to be hard for her to say she's for women's rights when she's accepting money from Stone Age regimes that abuse the rights of women," Paul told Schieffer.

On one point that Paul and Clinton might agree on—that the nuclear talks with Iran should continue toward a peaceful outcome—Paul did acknowledge he stands in contrast with his Republican peers. "I want peace, I want negotiations," Paul told Schieffer. "It has made it very difficult for someone like me, who is a Republican, who does believe in negotiations, who does have an open mind."

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.