Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he was not comfortable with Rand Paul's views on civil rights.
Steele's comments came during a fiery debate with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine on "This Week."
Paul, who won the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky on Tuesday, drew criticism for his comments suggesting the 1964 Civil Rights Act perhaps was too expansive in insisting private businesses not discriminate.
"I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains," Paul said in April.
"I abhor racism, I think it's a bad business decision to ever exclude anyone from your restaurant," he told the Louisville Courier Journal, "but at the same time I do believe in private ownership."
"There's 10 different titles, you know, to the Civil Rights Act," Paul said earlier this week. "One deals with private institutions, and had I been around I would have tried to modify that."
ABC News' Jake Tapper asked Steele, "Are you comfortable with" Paul's views?
"I'm not comfortable with a lot of things," Steele said. "But it doesn't matter what I'm comfortable with and not comfortable with. I don't vote in that election."
"It sounds like you're not comfortable with it," Tapper said.
"I just said I wasn't comfortable with it," Steele replied.
Steele emphasized that Paul had clarified his comments and supported civil rights.
"I think it's important to understand that Rand Paul has clarified his statement and reiterated his support for ... pushing civil rights forward, as opposed to going backwards," Steele told Tapper. "Any attempt to look backwards is not in the best interest of our country certainly, and certainly not in the best interest of the party."
Steele said Rand Paul's views on civil rights is part of a "philosophical position" that is also "held by a lot of libertarians, which Rand Paul is. They have a very, very strong view about the limitations of government intrusion into the private sector. That is a philosophical perspective."
Kaine said that Paul's statements will make the seat easier for his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, to win in November.
Kaine referenced "Rand Paul's views on [the Civil Rights Act and] his statement this week that he thinks it's un-American for President Obama to hold British Petroleum accountable for the spill in the Gulf."
"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" he said. "I think it's part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault, instead of the fact that maybe accidents happen."
On "This Week," Steele said, "People shouldn't worry about the Republican response to the BP oil spill. They should worry about the Democrat[ic] president's response to the BP oil spill."