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UPDATE: Ron Paul has turned his son's TSA headache into a fundraising pitch.
The libertarian-leading GOP presidential hopeful is asking supporters to donate to his campaign so he can bring an end to an agency that both he and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, see as evidence of government overreach. He's hoping to raise $250,000 from the pitch.
"Please, give whatever you are able right away to our End the TSA Money Bomb to help us keep the spotlight on this out-of-control organization and restore respect for freedom and common decency to the White House,” Paul wrote to supporters in a an email obtained by The Daily Caller.
On Monday, the younger Paul set off a body scanner on his way through security at the Nashville, Tenn., airport. He refused to submit a subsequent pat down, and as a result wasn't allowed to proceed to his gate to catch his flight to Washington, D.C. Both Pauls say that the TSA overreacted by "detaining" the Republican senator; the Obama administration, meanwhile, says TSA agents were just following established protocol and have taken issue with how Rep. Paul and Sen. Paul have described the incident.
"Let’s be clear, the passenger was not detained. He was escorted out of the area by local law-enforcement," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters shortly after the incident.
Ron Paul, naturally, offered a different take. "Rand stood up for his rights and refused — and was then detained by the TSA and prevented from getting on his flight," the elder Paul wrote. "I’m proud of my son’s stand, but just imagine those who receive this kind of treatment every day in our nation’s airports and can’t fight back?"
Monday, Jan. 23 at 4:05 p.m.: Rand Paul and the White House appear to have different definitions of the word "detained." The Republican senator used that word earlier Monday to describe what the TSA did to him after he refused to submit to a pat down. But White House spokesman Jay Carney later took issue with that description, telling reporters: "Let’s be clear, the passenger was not detained. He was escorted out of the area by local law-enforcement."
For his part, Paul defended his description in an interview with The Daily Caller: "If you’re told you can’t leave, does that count as detention?" he said. "I tried to leave the cubicle to speak to one of the TSA people and I was barked at: ‘Do not leave the cubicle!’ So, that, to me sounds like I’m being asked not to leave the cubicle. It sounds a little bit like I’m being detained."
Monday, Jan. 23 at 12:15 p.m: Rand Paul has been rebooked on another flight and has passed through security without incident, the AP reports. "It was just a problem with their machine," the Republican told reporters. "But this is getting more frequent, and because everybody has to have a pat down it's a problem."
Monday, Jan. 22: Sen. Rand Paul, an outspoken opponent of the TSA's pat-down searches, says he was "detained" in the Nashville, Tenn. airport on Monday morning after refusing to undergo the search himself.
The Associated Press quickly followed up with the libertarian-leaning Republican with a phone interview, during which Paul explained that he had been "detained" by TSA officers after setting off one of the airport's image scanners and subsequently refusing to submit to a pat down. As a result, he said that he missed his flight to Washington, D.C., where he was slated to speak at the March For Life later Monday.
A TSA spokesperson released a statement to Politico about its protocol in such situations, but did not refer directly to the specific incident. "When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport. Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling," said spokesperson Jonella Culmer.