Speaking privately, Republican strategists say that however troublesome Paul's comments are to some, his supporters could view them as fresh motivation for voting him into Congress. On the other hand, they say, other voters who routinely support GOP candidates could be repelled by his views, and either stay home on Election Day or support Conway instead.
Republicans have scheduled a unity breakfast for Saturday, to be attended by Paul, his vanquished primary rival, Trey Grayson, McConnell and others.
But it is not clear whether Paul will agree to accept offers to mesh his antiestablishment campaign with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the entity charged with maximizing the party's gains in the fall.
In the same NPR interview on Wednesday, Paul was asked whether the civil rights law and a second measure that protects the rights of the handicapped went too far.
"Right. I think a lot of things could be handled locally," he said.
As an example, he added, "I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who's handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator."
Both broadcast interviews on Wednesday referred to a session Paul had with the Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal last month, when he was asked whether he would have supported parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that banned racial segregation at private businesses.
"I think it's a bad business to ever exclude anyone from your restaurant. But at the same time, I do believe in private ownership," he said.