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Al Sharpton: GOP Rigidity On States’ Rights Resulting In ’21st Century Version Of The Civil War’

Halfway through Senator Rand Paul‘s speech tonight, MSNBC cut away from Paul to the roundtable hosts roundly criticizing Paul for his libertarian views. In particular, Al Sharpton called out Paul for holding a states’ rights philosophy that Sharpton said is bringing about a “21st-century version of the Civil War,” while Chris Matthews brought up Paul’s previously stated opposition to the Civil Rights Act.

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Chris Hayes rebutted Paul’s talk of making accomplishments on one’s own merit by arguing that the start of Paul’s whole political career hinged on the fact that his father is a popular figure in national politics. Sharpton brought up Paul’s strong belief in states’ rights to attack the Republican party’s philosophy, suggesting that the GOP is revisiting the Civil War era.

“To act like there’s no gender gaps in this country, there’s no class gap, there’s no race gap, it’s based on who you are — but to start out, Rachel, by talking about — this is still a battle in this country over states’ rights as opposed to strong national government. Clearly, this is what this is about, because they want every state to now decide who can vote, what are the voting laws, they want every state now to decide who gets health care, so we are really having a 21st century version of the Civil War all over again.”

Steve Schmidt referred to one of the “big four” at the convention to watch this week, saying that Paul is part of a new era of young Republicans to reenergize the party. Ed Schultz mocked Paul for suggesting that the government is “punishing the oil companies.”

Matthews interjected to call out Rand Paul for branding Obamacare as unconstitutional while holding the belief that the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional. Matthews wondered whether Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas would have voted against the legislation had they been on the bench at the time. Rachel Maddow recalled the contentious interview she had in 2010 with Paul over the issue of the Civil Rights Act.

Schmidt defended the Republican party by calling Paul’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act a “outlier position” in the party, as opposed to the vast majority of Republicans that accept the constitutionality of the law.

Watch the video below, courtesy of MSNBC:

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac