Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters
December 21st, 2011
09:20 PM ET
3 years ago

Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters

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.

– Follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter: @KevinBohnCNN


Filed under: 2012 • Ron Paul
soundoff (311 Responses)
  1. Jonas

    At 76 years old, and over 3 years in politics, all they can dig up are some old newsletters that he did not write and he denounces, but happened under his watch. I will give him a pass on this. I have followed Paul for many years, and I trust him and admire his disclosure. His ideas seem radical, but so did Gandhi's, MLK's and those of our Founding Father's. Sometimes, the best ideas are a bit crazy. Shoot for the moon, and you may just reach it. If not, at least your tried.

    December 21, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Brian

    Well, if you KNOW he has been asked already, why do you keep asking the same questions over and over again? And yes Paul did address and said he hadn't READ them on with Wolf Blitzer in 2008. BUt they are trying to bring him down... as usual..

    December 21, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. JohnJ

    Uh...yeah. I can see why he'd be "testy". It happened like 20 years ago, but the media keeps bringing it up over and over like it's something new. He keeps saying he didn't write them. He's been saying it for years. How many more times does he have to say it before you stop ignoring it?! I mean, is this the only thing the media can come up with to try to discredit him? Just give up already; he isn't going anywhere.

    December 21, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. anonymous

    A lot less editorializing and a lot more reporting facts might help here. I've seen quotes from these newsletters taken grossly out of context and seemingly done so simply to make them sound more incendiary. Report the facts, don't be an attack ad masquerading as a source of news. Ron Paul 2012!

    December 21, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  5. Ty

    Eh, the guy is solid.. he didn't write or endorse any of that – the newsletter got additions from everyone who submitted articles..

    It's hard for a libertarian/individualist to be racist.

    December 21, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  6. Scott

    Unfortunately as secretive these articles are about what they read, they sure on un-findable online. I did manage to find one portion that talked about D.C. police arrests against Blacks, and though it was spun as a racist remark, the article itself was pointing out how D.C. cops intentionally profile blacks for arrest (which is defending blacks).

    I guess if I'm to buy this skeleton-closet attempt I'd like to see the newsletters. Where are they?

    December 21, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. seriously now

    why wasn't cnn asking these sorts of questions to Obama back in 2007 and 2008? He has plenty of questionable friends and ties, yet there was not one word from cnn about these relationships. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    December 21, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. Bryan

    Could the left be attempting to take down another Republican front runner? They would never!

    December 21, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. Guest

    Good for you, Paul. This is the only thing the media has to grasp at to tear him down and none of it's even true. He's come out numerous times over the years saying he never wrote them, never read them, and has taken moral responsibility for not proofreading them. Those "newsletters" were written when he was practicing medicine, and didn't have time to deal with that stuff, and was probably unaware of what was going on. Good for you Dr. Paul for putting her in her place–you've answered the question plenty of times, but the media will never show that you have. They'll just keep trying to make you the bad guy. Anyone with a brain knows that you would never make any comments like that.

    December 21, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  10. R

    The writer of the newsletter has already confirmed that Dr. Paul was not the writer, and never edited the blatantly racist statements. This after he was out of public office and running his exemplary life. CNN and the rest of the media will not report the writers name, even though it has been disclosed more than 10 years ago.
    Main Street Media misrepresenting the facts, but the populace is wise to their tactics, the 99% KNOW these inferences that he is racist are just plain WRONG.

    December 21, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  11. Adam

    The public isn't buying it, CNN. This man is the biggest supporter of civil rights out of all the candidates in the running. Typically, that isn't the case with racists.

    December 21, 2011 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  12. Jonathan

    LoL! It's really the only time the media reports on Ron Paul when they can be negative. Hey! Hey! Ron! We have this old mud from 2008 we would like to smear it on you again and again. Oh stand there and be nice let me wipe it on your face! We know you said you didn't write these for the past 20 years, but you’re winning now Ron we can't have that... Why are you so grumpy Ron? I know you said you didn't write it already, but let me re-ask the same question in a different way 7 more times so it looks like I don't believe you.... Ron I’m being nice come back!! Gee That Ron's an Old Grumpy Bear… The media was so polite they're getting better! *
    CNN your better than Fox I know you can try a positive story!!!

    December 21, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. Reson2012

    Wow. Paul handled this well. As the only candidate who will end the war, restore our economy and our civil liberties, and turn the lights out on the special interests ties to Washington, this type of low blow from the establishment media is not surprising. Paul answered for this years ago and even NAACP leaders have vouched for him. The media has no care for the truth. No mention of his policies against the racist war on drugs, prison system or death penalty. Only slander about a few sentences that he had nothing t do with over 20 years ago. It is a shame that whoever wrote this stuff did it in his news letter. But it wont stick because he is an opponent to these types of views. That's the beauty of all of this. The saddest part is that people will stoop so low as Wolf Blitzer (AIPAC newsletter editor) and his female henchmen Gloria. These people care nothing for America. If they did, they would be fair to Americas true presidential hope instead of antagonistic and mean when they know his philosophies and that he answered their questions 5 times. Let freedom ring. Ron Paul 2012!

    December 21, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Does it matter?

    CNN always messing with Ron Paul.

    December 21, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  15. Don

    There is no reason to believe Ron Paul wrote or knew about the contents of these newsletters while he practiced as a physician. He has a consistent non-racial track record in speeches he gave and in congressional voting. It's fair to ask him about it as he's a front-runner in the presidential race, but I'd expect CNN to adhere to balanced coverage of the only consistent candidate in the GOP race, actually in the presidential race in general to be exact.

    December 21, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. John D.

    "Presidential candidate Ron Paul was defensive "
    – Not quite. CNN interviews the man the day before. Apparently their own reporter does not watch CNN. CNN has asked Ron Paul the same question since 2008. CNN has also asked Ron Paul 30 times the same question: 'So, would you consider running as a Third Party candidate?" Ron Paul has answered this question to CNN every time. CNN deeply considered this answer. Then CNN came up with another profound question: "'So, would you consider running as a Third Party candidate?" When will CNN abide by professional standards of journalism? You know, asking objective questions about the policy positions of the candidate? Waiting for an answer... ah, here it is..."CNN defensive over past multiple useless questions." Finally, an accurate headline!

    December 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. Ty

    Old stories don't make good news. It kind of defeats the definition. I don't blame him for being annoyed.

    December 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I used to have respect for CNN' Gloria Borger, but now with this?...disgusting. Trying to push something false on a candidate, and asking if its "legitimate"? purely unprofessional and immoral.

    December 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  19. Moi

    Lol the establishment trying to make Ron look bad. Why not ask him about his ideas and proposals instead?

    December 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. Hassan

    He answered them!! What else you want? He answered them 4 years ago. What is the point of asking again when he already answered??

    December 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. straightalk

    You guys worked Cain into the ground, why arent you still reporting on the allegations of his infidelity?? Now you are going after Ron Paul, your so called news is obviously biased and Ron Paul said it himself...you asked this crap years ago and got the same answer. How about letting the PEOPLE decide instead of this gradual coercion that is being practiced here...

    December 21, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  22. dareyoutoposthis

    You guys worked Cain into the ground, why arent you still reporting on the allegations of his infidelity?? Now you are going after Ron Paul, your so called news is obviously biased and Ron Paul said it himself...you asked this crap years ago and got the same answer. How about letting the PEOPLE decide instead of this gradual coercion that is being practiced here...

    December 21, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  23. Pyrometman

    He's not defensive about the newsletter issue. He has answered, but the media continue to ask the same questions over and over again. That is what he is getting defensive about. Not many people like to have their time wasted.

    If you look at his record, what he has said over the years in interviews and speeches, you never see any evidence that he has any racist tendencies.

    It's time to let it go and start asking him about his policies.

    December 21, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  24. John Fredericks

    Well, you brought it up in 2008, CNN; you brought it up in September. Is Ron Paul going to have to explain these letters every new state caucus or primary? Why don't you focus on his issues–they are obviously the least racist or prejudice of any of the GOP candidates.

    By the way, the Keeping them Honest Ron Paul segment tonight was a joke. You had to have brought out two neoconservatives who were desperately trying to discredit his policies. Honestly, why don't you pick better sources, ones who won't kneel down in gutter slime and bring up supposed neo-nazi contributions to Ron Paul's campaign. The type of cheap trash journalism that you put out against anyone who isn't part of the mainstream, business collected elite is honestly disgusting.

    December 21, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  25. Kenton

    Ho Hum. Another one down the tube.

    December 21, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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