In the midst of his day-long (sort of) campaign livestream, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul responded to a number of online questions about him, one of which was, "Is Rand Paul still running for president?"
His more-than-slightly-exasperated response: "Yes. I wouldn't be doing this dumbass livestreaming if I weren't. So get over it."
Watch the video:
This is probably not exactly the response that most campaign consultants would suggest in response to a question like this, and, naturally, it generated a little bit of attention, with the word "dumbass" briefly trending on Twitter in Washington, D.C.
But that's sort of the point of an Internet stunt like this—to generate the sort of humanizing moments that more cautious, conventional campaigning is typically designed to avoid, and then, perhaps, to generate a bit of attention as a result. In that sense, I suppose this one moment worked, though the event as a whole seems to have been a bit of a dud.
Candidates, it seems, increasingly feel the need to generate and perform for these sorts of online oddities: Witness Ted Cruz making "machine gun bacon," Bobby Jindal showing off his push-up abilities, or Rand Paul's previous video showing him hacking up the tax code with a chainsaw.
Sometimes these sideshow events are briefly amusing, but overall I can't say I'm very fond of the trend, which prioritizes trivial, attention-grabbing antics over substance. In this case, I suppose, it's nice to see that Rand Paul seems to find the whole thing somewhat ridiculous too.