MAKING A PROFIT FROM PROFITT…. In Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, Rand Paul (R) actually has a fairly compelling response to the awful head-stomping incident from Monday night: don’t blame the candidate; he wasn’t responsible.

Tim Profitt, who still wants an apology from the defenseless woman whose head he stepped on, has been a prominent Paul backer and campaign coordinator, but after the incident, the campaign “disassociated” itself from the violent activist. Paul was exceedingly slow in actually condemning the assault — he initially blamed “both sides” and “crowd control” — but he eventually issued a statement saying the right thing.

Indeed, the right-wing ophthalmologist even announced on Fox News that he would return the $1,950 his campaign received from Profitt.

With this in mind, it’s more challenging for Paul’s detractors to pin the incident on the Republican nominee. At least it was, before Paul flip-flopped on the two grand.

[O]n Wednesday Paul’s campaign said that it won’t return $1,950 in contributions from the man, Tim Profitt, who had been Paul’s campaign coordinator in Bourbon County before the campaign said it was “disassociating” itself from him. […]

Paul’s spokesman, Jesse Benton, said that the campaign had adequately dealt with the situation and that it would not return Profitt’s contributions.

This is bizarre. It’s not as if Profitt’s $1,950 is going to make the difference between winning and losing this race. If on Tuesday, Paul was committed to returning the money and severing ties between the campaign on Profitt, there’s no reason to reverse course and do the opposite a day later.

The significance here is the message Rand Paul is choosing to send. On Tuesday, the campaign disassociated itself from Profitt and his apparent crime. Yesterday, the campaign seemed to be suggesting that maybe Paul is comfortable with this political violence after all.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.