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Paul said he had heard about “many tragic cases” of children who got vaccines and ended up with “profound mental disorders.” That assertion has no basis in medical research. Paul at first blamed the uproar on “inaccuracies” in the media. He later said he believes vaccines are safe and that his own children are immunized. That came after Paul suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the transmission of Ebola sound similar to that of AIDS. Ebola, he said, is easier to contract. Health authorities worldwide have said that Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids.
He bristled in interviews at questions about his father and abortion policy, and said “shhhhh” to a female television interviewer who challenged something he said.
In October, Paul embarked on an online event in which he answered hostile questions from Twitter users.
One asked if he’s still running for president.
“I dunno,” he answered. “I wouldn’t be doing this dumbass live streaming if I weren’t.”
After qualifying for five prime-time debates — and enduring Trump’s suggestion that he not bother running anymore — Paul was dropped from the sixth face-to-face confrontation. He was invited back for the seventh and final prime time debate before the Iowa caucuses, drawing a roar from his supporters in the audience when he was introduced.
Kellman reported from Washington. Steve Peoples contributed to this report.