October 18th, 2010
09:47 AM ET
October 18th, 2010
09:30 AM ET

Senate debate in Kentucky devolves into a name-calling session

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - An ugly Senate campaign in Kentucky grew even uglier Sunday as Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul faced off in a debate that devolved into a name-calling session rather than a give-and-take on the issues facing the state's voters.

The debate at the University of Louisville came a day after Conway, the state attorney general, released a television ad questioning Paul's values.

"Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible 'a hoax,' that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ?" the ad's announcer says. "Why did Rand Paul once tie up a woman, tell her to bow down before a false idol, and say his god was 'Aqua Buddha?'"

The ad, which is running statewide, is based on reports that Paul was a member of a secret society while a student at Baylor University. GQ Magazine and The Washington Post quoted an anonymous woman as making the claims in August.

The ad was an oft-repeated topic of debate from the start Sunday night as the Tea Party-backed Paul gave his opening statement.

"I'm disheartened that my opponent has chosen to attack my religious beliefs," he said. "We have serious problems in our country ... and he has descended into the gutter to attack my personal religious beliefs. ... Jack, you should be ashamed of yourself. You should apologize. Have you no decency? Have you no shame?"

It was a familiar refrain as Conway pressed Paul to explain his alleged involvement in the group while Paul shot back with such quips as, "You know how we tell when you're lying? When your lips are moving."

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