Washington -- Kentucky's Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill Friday as putting "his boot heel on the throat of BP" and "really un-American."
Paul's defense of the oil company came during an interview in which he tried to explain his controversial take on civil rights law, an issue that has overtaken his campaign since his victory in Tuesday's GOP primary.
"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,"' Rand said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."
Gallery: Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico
Paul appeared two days after a landslide primary victory over the Republican establishment's candidate, Trey Grayson. He had spent most of the time since his win laboring to explain remarks suggesting businesses be allowed to deny service to blacks without fear of federal interference. On Friday said he wouldn't seek to repeal civil rights legislation.
On the oil spill, Paul, a libertarian and tea party darling, said he had heard nothing from BP indicating it wouldn't pay for the spill that threatens devastating environmental damage along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
"And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be somebody's fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen," Paul said.
The senate candidate referred to a Kentucky coal mine accident that killed two men, saying he had met with the families and he admired the coal miners' courage.
"We had a mining accident that was very tragic. ... Then we come in and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen," he said.
The political novice came under blistering scrutiny little more than 24 hours a landslide Republican primary victory. He defeated a rival recruited by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, and invited Obama, who never enjoyed popularity in the state, to campaign for Kentucky's Democratic candidates as a strategy toward a Republican win in November.
Paul, 47 and an eye surgeon, is making his first run for public office, and his emergence as a favorite of tea party activists has been one of the most striking developments of the early months of the midterm election campaign. In an appearance on primary night, he credited their support with powering him to his victory, and the first opinion poll since then shows him with a commanding lead over his Democratic rival, Jack Conway.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)