Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters
December 21st, 2011
09:20 PM ET
11 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. Robert Fallin

    What is WRONG with you people? Congress gives the President permission to murder, torture or imprison Americans FOR LIFE and you bring up 20 year-old newsletters that have been brought up in every congressional and Presidential campaign since(!!!) Gloria, get a life!

    December 21, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Jordan

    This kind of journalism is a disgrace and will severely hurt your credibility. The American people, all but the most sheepish, can see through your games.

    December 21, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. John

    Thank you for the interview. It seems clear that he's answered the questions, on record, many times, for over ten years. The fact that your news organization has asked this question several times and he has answered, should be enough for your records. The job of your organization is to provide news. News means current informational topics. I understand he is in the run for President, but he has said in the past that he feels bad that they went out and feels responsible for not reading them beforehand, but he has shown in his record and among those that know him best, to be a man of honesty and consistency. Him being a racist is about as far from him as it seems.

    December 21, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. JamesKlimaski

    I believe Ron Paul has been asked questions about these newsletters each time he has run for president. And he has given the same answer. It seems the reporter was trying to get him to say something different by simply baiting him. Were they fair questions? Once , yes, twice, maybe, time and again, I think not. There is no question the mainstream press does not like Ron Paul and it shows with every mention of him – especially by CNN. This morning when reporting that Paul was now the front runner in Iowa, the story talked about the margin of error in the poll. I reviewed other stories about the candidates poll and this was the only one to mention a margin of error. The interesting thing is, that of all the candidates running for president, Ron Paul has the best chance against Obama. Luckily for President Obama, the power in the Republican Party will see this doesn't happen.

    December 21, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Austin Phillips

    I would get "testy" if CNN asked me the same question over and over again for 5 years. CNN asks this about Ron Paul every single interview and will not stop. Ron Paul gives the same answer and yet CNN tries to distort the truth by continuing to ask the question.

    December 21, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Cy Sykes

    Wolf – you asked him the same questions (repeatedly) just a couple days ago and got the same answers, which make sense. Why dont you focus on his message?

    December 21, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    Is this the SAME Ron Paul who steps on government while trying to step into it? I thought so. Hypocrisy at its best.

    December 21, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Rick E

    How many times do these lame news casters ask the same questions? I voted for Obama in the last election as an independent. I will vote for Ron Paul as the Republican or Third Party candidate. BTW I'm educated and in my mid 50's.

    December 21, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Angelo D

    Ron Paul didn't get testy.

    Gloria was rude and when he answered her question she wanted to massage it some more.

    She is clearly junior league. She should be managed a little more closely.

    Also, just the fact that she admits to Wolf that she knew Wolf asked all the same questions before, she went ahead intent on being a nuisance... She's not qualified for the campaign trail.

    She could have asked important questions when Ron Paul generously gave her his time and attention. But she chose to ask about a 25 year old rumor that's all over the web and resolved.

    December 21, 2011 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Edwin Merit

    I guess since this is the only thing they have on him they are going to try and go after it. I don't think it will go anywhere though, I mean he addressed them last election cycle and Wolf Blitzer even stated that the newsletters didn't sound like Ron Paul. Also, the President of the Austin Chapter of the NAACP came out and stated that he has known Paul for awhile and that he knows that Ron Paul is not a racist.

    Time to put this one to bed and focus on the more pressing issues rather than trying to dig up dirt which has no merit and which has already been confronted.

    December 21, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    Angry as usual. I can't wait until he and his son are no longer relevant.

    December 21, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Katharine

    She just got owned by Ron Paul. You can't touch Ron. He is a great American and these ridiculous charges only expose the MSM's bias.

    December 21, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. Caysen

    Good for Ron Paul, as always he doesn't need these clowns in the media to get his message across.

    December 21, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Alex

    I don't think there's a stronger defender of personal and individual rights than Ron Paul! These newspapers were played out last election season too, and once again you will never find a speech given by Ron Paul that says anything like is said in those newspapers, and it's obvious Ron Paul didn't write them so I'd say lets focus on the serious issues like ending our war overseas, increasing national defense, ending the failed war on drugs and stop with the billion dollar bailouts to the corporations.

    December 21, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. nate

    This is going to back fire on you cnn. The American people know what the media is trying to do to Mr. Paul. The more you try to shun the DR to the side the more we notice.

    December 21, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Ryan

    Why do they keep asking him? The NAACP head has vouched that he didn't write them and he is not a racist.

    December 21, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. RL Turn

    Wow, 20 yr old newsletters that he's been saying over and over again (for 10+ yrs now) that he didn't read or write is the best 'gotcha' they can give to Ron Paul. My family & I are BLACK and we LOVE Ron Paul. Sorry kids, the racebaiting just don't work anymore.

    December 21, 2011 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Classical Liberal

    I'm not sure if that qualifies as "testy"

    December 21, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Thai

    Not sure what Gloria Borger was expecting. It's your job to ask, assuming it hasn't already been asked. If you want to ask follow-up questions, ask the follow-up questions. The interview showed Borger asking the same question that has been asked repeatedly, and instead of asking a follow-up question, she simply said "Well it's incendiary."

    Okay, so it's an incendiary piece that he said he has nothing to do with. If there's some evidence he's lying, go ahead and present the evidence. Asking him the same question repeatedly isn't your job. It's your job to present something new to prove that he's lying (if he is).

    December 21, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. jOErOGAN

    Good for Dr Paul.

    December 21, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Rufrigginkidnme

    She stopped asking questions and started editorializing towards him – the interview was over. He answered the questions – and after 20 years of trying to pin this too him unless you have some new evidence bring it up so a the new people who hav en't seen it in the last 20 years can find out what it's about and then move on.

    Why not ask any question about the policies he advocates or the millions of passionate liberty lovers who have drafted him as their leader.

    December 21, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. Tim

    Racist newsletters... ----- LEAP! ------> ...Israelis bomb WTC in 1993. Nice technique, CNN! If the first one doesn't stick, the second one might!

    December 21, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. netnut

    Ron Paul 2012!! True Freedom For ALL!!!! Individual liberty, not Groups, corrupt politicians put us in!! to steal money. And make us hate the other groups. My Eyes are now Open,TY Ron;-)) Peace

    MSM are becoming button hooks!!! Thank God 4 the internet!!!or GoreLOL;-))
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”.

    Mahatma Gandhi.

    December 21, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Ken

    Dr. Paul did the right thing. She kept repeating herself. I'd be annoyed too. He wants to focus on the issues while the media is trying to create nonsensical distraction. Stay classy CNN...

    December 21, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    Ron Paul is usually testy, actually, especially when you call him out for unfair play.

    December 21, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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