Paul faced questions during his 2010 Senate campaign when he expressed misgivings about how the Civil Rights Act bans racial discrimination by private businesses. Asked about his position on the 1964 legislation, passed under the presidency of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, Paul told the students he had never opposed the Civil Rights Act.
He argued that many Democrats had opposed civil rights in the South during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt but many black voters became impatient with Republicans in the years that followed over economic policies. He said Democrats offer “unlimited federal assistance” and policies that put “food on the table but too often, I think, don’t lead to jobs and meaningful success.”
Paul said using taxes to “punish the rich” hurts everyone in the economy, along with more regulations and higher debt. “Big government is not a friend of African-Americans,” he said.
Many students said they didn’t agree with Paul on many issues but gave him credit for speaking to them. “It could be very intimidating. You’re sitting in a room with people who don’t support you for the most part so I do give him credit for coming,” said Tasia Hawkins, an 18-year-old freshman from New York.