Mt. Pleasant, Iowa (CNN) - Presidential candidate Ron Paul was defensive Wednesday when pressed about controversial newsletters in the 1980s and 1990s that were in his name.
When asked during an interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger whether he looked at them when they were published and decided they did not represent him accurately, he said "not all the time." Pressed on whether he read them he said, "Not all the time. Well, on occasion, yes."
Paul, who had left Congress at the time and was practicing medicine, has repeatedly disavowed the controversial remarks in the newsletters.
"I've never read that stuff. I've never read - I came - I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written and it's been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this and CNN does it every single time," he said.
Among the racially charged comments contained in the publications was this one from 1992: "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks." They also contained some conspiracy theories.
When Borger asked him if this was a legitimate topic, he became testy saying "Yeah and when you get the answer, it's legitimate that you sort of take the answers I gave. You know what the answer is? I didn't write them, didn't read them at the time, and I disavow them. This is the answer."
Existence of the controversial newsletters, which listed Paul as publisher and carried such names as "Ron Paul's Freedom Project," the "Ron Paul Political Report," the "Ron Paul Survival Report" and the "Ron Paul Investment Letter," got renewed attention in 2008 by a story in the New Republic and was followed up on by the Weekly Standard.
Paul can expect more scrutiny with the news he is at the top of some polls in Iowa, less than two weeks before the Jan. 3 caucuses.
During a swing Wednesday, he drew large crowds and enthusiastic responses to his anti-establishment message and calls for fiscal restraint.
Paul's campaign has hit Newt Gingrich hard in campaign commercials accusing him of "serial hypocrisy" for changing positions and using his influence to help build his consulting business.
When CNN asked him whether he would be willing to take down these ads because many Iowans have voiced displeasure with the negative nature of this year's campaign he said he would not.
"I don't consider them attacking him unfairly. I mean, it just points out the position he's been on. That's my job, to show what my opponents do. They flip-flop around and they change positions, and if the media won't do it, I should do it," he said in the interview.
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This is the only guy in the Republican race that will win minority votes.... His message of liberty and the importance of the individual will draw more minorities then any other Rep candidate. Obama prayed and listened to a racist preacher, and CNN never drilled him on the issue..
Incendiary?? She sure tried to be. Idiot. It's not like Ron Paul even wrote the letters!?!?!
That's all that anyone can "dig up" on him huh? haaaaaaha
Why should he be given easy questions to answer? Is that how he will answer tough questions as president. I wouldn't vote for him after seeing him deal with a difficult set of questions that way.
It's too bad that he got so annoyed in this interview because it makes him look bad, but it's completely understandable. He gets asked this question repeatedly, even though 99% of reporters already know what his answer is. I think they continue to ask him about the newsletters because they have absolutely nothing else to dig up. The guy's personal and political record is so clean that they struggle to find any sort of controversy with him.
Sorry CNN. You're really reaching. This is weak. You're complaining because somebody else wrote something 20 years ago and put Ron Paul's name on it? Are you serious?!
We are seeing the true nature of the Republican field. Conservatives – are you proud of what you have wrought?
The GOP vetting process is so much fun!
Careful Mr Paul....your getting too popular for the jewish controlled media......since your not willing to support the Israeli agenda you'll have to be smeared now......too bad because your one of the only ones that makes any sense when you talk.
The attack is already on.
I have only been aware of Ron Paul's message the last few months, but have heard this same thing many many times. He has so much support from non-white supporters, how can he be racist? Can't you dig up some better dirt on him?
Two more items: I love the characterization of Dr. Paul as 'testy', alluding to him as a doddering old fool rather than the Noble Statesman that he is; and that poll regarding 'racist comments'–can you be any more duplicitous? SAY NO TO FEAR America–vote for integrity and consistency–vote for Ron Paul.
Wolf and Gloria... you are BOTH on the verge of making complete FOOLS of yourselves. Dr. Paul's only misdeed having to do with the newsletter is being so BUSY delivering babies (many for FREE for African Americans) that he failed to personally keep an eye on what was being written in "his" name. It's a lesson he learned at a younger age (like we ALL have done) and has not repeated the mistake since.
And as for currently being "racist" ... what other candidate, including the sitting President, has a policy of ENDING the "war on drugs" which puts a hugely disproportionate percentage of MINORITIES into prison for no other crimes but "illegal" drug usage and/or sales?? Ask yourself that please, as he is the ONLY one who loves and cares for minorities enough to stop this DISCRIMINATION.
I thought the CNN "interview" made Ms. Borger and CNN look unprofessional if anything. Her questions were clearly phrased to provoke a response from RP, and she continued to persist with the questions even after his very adequate answers. The interview looked like an ambush to me.
CNN– you brought this subject up 4 years ago!! You were given the answers then. Why do you continue to bring up this garbage? I remember you bringing it up 4 years ago. The answers were the same then as they are now. He did not write that stuff, he admits he didnt keep a close enough eye on the newsletters, and he has disavowed those comments. If there was more to the story, you would have found it 4 years ago!! You know there isnt. You just hope that regurgitating this garbage will distract the campaign and slow the momentum. What a joke. You people will stoop to anything to protect the establishment!
if a 20 year old newsletter is the best dirt they can dig up on him... he gets my vote!
we all know the media dont like Ron and they will do everything to take him down.....why not reporting the new law NDAA thats something we should see all over , but like always the media doesnt show on tv........ron paul 2012 a true american who will end this corrupt system........
Also, isnt it funny you wait until now, when he is surging in the polls and the front-runner in Iowa, to bring this up? You covered this 4 years ago!! If you werent satisfied with his answers then, why didnt you cover this when he first announced he was running again? Anyone with a functioning brain can see that this is just a media hitpiece!!
this is no differant than the Teaparty accusation that obama palling around with terrorists.
Once someone answeres the question... Move on... This is not journalism
This dinosaur will never be president.
they gotta try something, if this is the best they have Ron Paul is a shoe in!
This is good news for him in a way – this is like the only thing that ever gets brought up and it's 20 years old.
I feel sorry for ms. Borger. She seems sorta pathetic asking this line of questions. Dr. Paul has answered these questions countless times on CNN and now that he's winning the msm is in a panic. Sad to watch the CNN actors.
Apparently your viewers are slow. I've seen this interview this year already. I actually saw the same questions in 2007. Might need to ask the questions one more time from the most consistent politician and see if his answer changes.
We can expect more of these attacks in the coming weeks. We must defend him.