Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks on the Senate floor.
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, countering Democratic charges of a GOP "war on women," Sunday accused the news media of giving former president Bill Clinton a pass for what he called "predatory behavior" toward Monica Lewinsky.
The exchange on NBC's Meet the Press was a reminder for Hillary Clinton, if she needed one, of some of the complications ahead if the former secretary of State and New York senator decides to run for president in 2016.
"The Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women," Paul said. "One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office.
"And I really think the media seem to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior."
He went on, "Now, it's not Hillary's fault ... but it is a factor in judging Bill Clinton in history."
Clinton was impeached by the House in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice in an investigation into his sexual relationship with Lewinsky. He was acquitted by the Senate.
Asked by moderator David Gregory if Hillary Clinton should be judged on the scandal if she runs in 2016, the Kentucky senator replied: "No, I'm not saying that," but he added, "Sometimes it's hard to separate one from the other." Paul is weighing a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin immediately pushed back.
"The issues that were raised by my colleague Sen. Paul have been litigated in the public square for over a decade," the Illinois senator said in a separate interview on NBC. "For goodness sakes, let's judge Hillary Clinton based on her talents and her vision of America should she choose to run for president."