Although Sam Donaldson wouldn't go so far as calling senatorial candidate Rand Paul a racist, he did say that he'd be shocked if enough people in Kentucky voted for the Tea Party candidate in November to send him to Congress.
As the Roundtable discussion of Sunday's "This Week" moved to Paul's primary victory on Tuesday, Donaldson said that comments the Tea Partier made about the Civil Rights Act on "The Rachel Maddow Show" were "stupid."
"So who is going to win in Kentucky? I can't predict," he said adding, "But I would be shocked -- I'll say that now -- if Rand Paul gets most of Kentucky's votes and becomes the senator" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
SAM DONALDSON: Forty-six years later, after the Civil Rights Act filibuster was broken -- and I was in the gallery -- when Everett McKinley Dirksen, the Republican leader supporting the bill, made the last speech to break that filibuster.
Dr. Paul thinks we should reopen the debate on Title II. He says he supports the other titles of the act, but Title II is the one where you can sit down at a lunch counter, you can have breakfast someplace, you can go to a motel, and all that. He says, well, maybe there's -- that's private business.
JAKE TAPPER, HOST: Now, he says he doesn't want to overturn it, but just philosophically, he wouldn't have supported that part of...
DONALDSON: Well, he said, in one of the interviews, that if he had been in the Senate, he would have tried to modify that.
COKIE ROBERTS: Right.
DONALDSON: OK. So you don't overturn it, you modify it, so maybe it doesn't do those things.
ROBERTS: (inaudible) more discussion.
DONALDSON: On the Rachel Maddow show -- now, I believe as you do, George, he's probably not an internal racist, as I understand that definition, but he was asked finally, having skipped and gone back and forth, a direct question. Should Woolworth lunch counter be allowed to discriminate? Answer yes or no, she said. We're listening. He doesn't say yes, but he doesn't say no.
You say that's frivolous? I think that's stupid.
ROBERTS: But, you know, I -- I'm not sure, Donna, that the voters this year care about somebody being out of the mainstream. I mean, the people they are choosing in these primaries are definitely people who are out of the mainstream, whether it's in Utah or whether it's in -- in -- in -- Arkansas is still out -- up for grabs, but it looks like it's going toward the more liberal candidate in Arkansas.
TAPPER: That's the Bill Halter versus Blanche Lincoln race.
ROBERTS: Right. I mean, it is in -- in state after state, it is not the mainstream candidate the voters are interested in.
TAPPER: And, Cokie, isn't it -- isn't it fair to say that the same quality that got Rand Paul elected to that nomination...
ROBERTS: Could get him elected to the Senate.
TAPPER: Well, the idea -- this candor of his, this -- this philosophy, this isn't out of nowhere. This is who he is. This is what appealed to some people.
ROBERTS: Right, and a lot of people, that he was real, that he wasn't -- you know, wasn't a phony. But, you know, when you find out somebody's not a phony and what they're real about is -- is -- I don't care whether he's a racist or not -- the views are racist.
DONALDSON: But you say which voters? Which voters? It can't be all the voters. I mean, the Democrats still have a lot of voters out there. They've elected a lot of people, including a president. And in the race, as pointed out by the chairman, the Democratic chairman, the Democrats' two candidates running got 60 percent of the vote.
TAPPER: In Hawaii you're talking about?
ROBERTS: No, no, in Kentucky.
TAPPER: Oh, Kentucky. The two Democrats...
DONALDSON: So who is going to win in Kentucky? I can't predict. If I've learned anything after all these years as a political reporter, don't predict anything. But I would be shocked -- I'll say that now -- if Rand Paul gets most of Kentucky's votes and becomes the senator.
Will Donaldson be shocked the first Tuesday of November?