Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) delivered a message from his presidential campaign's supporters to the media on Thursday: A middle finger.
In an interview with ABC Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky on Thursday, Paul said his exclusion form Thursday night's primetime debate had infuriated many of his supporters, who were calling into his campaign to convey their anger with the media.
"Ninety-nine percent of our supporters are calling in and saying, for the media, that's where you can go," Paul said, then throwing up his middle finger.
The senator failed to place high enough in national or early-state polls to qualify for the primetime debate, which is being hosted by the Fox Business Network. He has subsequently refused to participate in the earlier, lower-tier debate featuring other lower-polling candidates.
Paul's campaign lobbied Fox Business to allow him on the main stage, after the results of a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll released Wednesday would have helped bump up his average over the threshold needed to qualify for the main stage. But the network refused to change its qualification rules.
The campaign lashed out at Fox Business, and "the media" more broadly, after it was announced that Paul did not qualify for the debate.
"[T]he media doesn't care about the truth, they care about their own agenda. They want to decide the 'tiers' of this race and name the winners and losers. I will not stand for this," Paul wrote in an email to supporters.
Click through pictures of Rand Paul on the campaign trail:
Rand Paul on the campaign trail
Rand Paul literally flips off media after debate firestorm
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., attends the New Hampshire Republican Party #FITN Leadership Summit at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, N.H., January 23, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17 - Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., inspects an AR-15 rifle as he fires it at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, on Sunday, Jan 17, 2016. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and 2016 presidential candidate, stands on stage at the start of the Republican presidential candidate debate at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. With less than two months remaining before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses and the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, middle-of-the-pack candidates hoping for a late surge in the polls have little choice but to come out swinging in tonight's fifth Republican debate. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Host Larry Wilmore speaks with Republican candidate Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on Comedy Central's 'The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore' Soul Food Sit Down on October 23, 2015 in New York City. The show airs tonight, November 2, 2015, at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
GREENVILLE, SC - SEPTEMBER 18: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum September 18, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Eleven republican candidates each had twenty five minutes to talk to voters Friday at the Bons Secours Wellness arena in the upstate of South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 20: John Dickerson interviews Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on the September 20, 2015 edition of 'Face the Nation.' (Photo by Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images)
2016 Republican presidential candidates George Pataki, former governor of New York, Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, stand on stage during the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The main debate of the top 11 GOP contenders in the polls follows the 'kids' table' debate of candidates who didn't make the cut. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 7: Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with the media at the Pints for Liberty event at Rat River Brewery in Columbia, S.C., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 26: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., reacts to a question about Sen. Ted Cruz as he arrives for the rare Sunday session in the Senate on July 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and 2016 U.S. 2016 presidential candidate, questions John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, not pictured, during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Senator Bob Corker, a key player in the congressional debate over the nuclear deal with Iran, told Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama administration is engaging in hyperbole to sell it. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 29: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) waits to be introduced at a campaign stop at an Embassy Suites hotel on June 29, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paul made stops in four cities in Nevada on Monday as he campaigns for the battleground state against 12 other Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential race. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, SC - JUNE 15: GOP presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) greets supporters at the VFW Hall on June 15, 2015 in Lexington, South Carolina. Paul took questions and spoke against government intrusion into the lives of citizens. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 09: Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) addresses the Baltimore county Republican Party's annual Lincoln/Reagan Dinner at Martin's West June 9, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Paul launched his campaign April 7 in Louisville, where he told supporters, 'I have a message, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our country back.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) does a live interview with ABC News in the Russell Senate Office Building rotunda on Capitol Hill June 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. In protest of the National Security Agency's sweeping program to collect U.S. citizens' telephone metadata, Paul blocked an extension of some parts of the USA PATRIOT Act, allowing them to lapse at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The Senate will continue to work to restore the lapsed authorities by amending a House version of the bill and getting it to President Obama later this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 18: Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tours Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Monday, May, 18, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 18: Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., shakes hands with supporters before his speech outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Monday, May, 18, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition presidential forum at Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Declared and undeclared Republican presidential candidates descended on Iowa for the event. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images ***Local Caption *** Rand Paul
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky and presidential candidate, listens during a campaign stop in Atkins, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Paul will attend the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images ***Local Caption *** Rand Paul
VINTON, IA - APRIL 25: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) poses for pictures with guests during a campaign stop at the American Legion Hall on April 25, 2015 in Vinton, Iowa. Paul is seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NASHUA, NH - APRIL 18: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 18, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Summit brought together local and national Republicans and was attended by all the Republicans candidates as well as those eyeing a run for the nomination. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 11: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a rally at the Desert Vista Community Center on April 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Paul declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on April 7, and is the second Republican candidate to jump into the race. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
MT PLEASANT, SC - APRIL 09: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and GOP presidential hopeful speaks at a campaign rally in front of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown on April 9, 2015 in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina. Paul outlined a foreign policy vision built both on a strong military and a commitment to use it sparingly. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
MILFORD, NH - APRIL 8: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a rally at Town Hall April 8, 2015 in Milford, New Hampshire. Paul declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on April 7, and is the second Republican candidate to jump into the race. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, speaks during a rally to formally announce his presidential campaign at the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Paul, 52, becomes the second Republican, and second freshman senator to join the 2016 presidential race. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The senator said Thursday that his decision to skip the second-tier debate was strategic in order to avoid looking like a lesser candidate in the eyes of voters.
"To be artificially designated in some kind of lower or second tier sends a signal to the voter that you are not the same and don't have a chance," Paul said.
Paul's campaign does appear to be benefiting from greater media exposure gained by skipping the debate.
As CNN's Dylan Byers reported Thursday, Paul's appearance on numerous television shows in New York resulted in much higher ratings than Paul would have likely garnered if he appeared in the undercard debate.