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. Milbert Krohn

    I've seen at least 3 CNN reporters raise this topic repeatedly and answered the same every time. I don't blame him for stopping the interview. His time would be much better spent talking with some news organization that has questions about the myriad of infinitely more serious problems we face. You know. Real reporters.

    December 21, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Aaron

    It sounded like Ron Paul felt he had given your other colleagues at CNN answers and had done so with the proper gravity and respect for the question the previous times he's been asked this week. Is it necessary for him to repeat the answers every day to a separate CNN reporter? I say no.

    December 21, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Shame, shame, shame.
    Shame on Ron.

    Who wants to see Ron Paul walk off the stage during a presidential debate when this question is asked? You know he will be asked again if he makes it that far.

    December 21, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. Bob Ross

    He was asked this many times by CNN, including 24 hours prior to this interview. He answered her question, she asked again. What was she expecting?

    December 21, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. Buddy the Elf

    Ok, he answered the question. He obviously disagrees with what was said in the letters. And if you have actually read the letter concerning the racist remarks, you will actually see he is stating facts about the relationship of crime to race based on economic status. Granted,
    he should have been more aware of what was written under his name. Now, why isn't the media hounding Newt about his indiscretions as Speaker from all those years ago? Now that Paul is a front runner, the media is very worried that he may win so they have to make up for lost time bashing him.

    December 21, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Todd C

    Did someone ask him about sponsoring legislation that will increase the value of his significant investments in gold mining? Or perhaps they asked him if, after he abolishes the EPA, he thinks the 17,000 people that die prematurely every year as a result of mercury emissions from power plants will be able to seek redress in the courts? Maybe they asked him about withholding health care from women who wanted an abortion back when he was a doctor?

    December 21, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. Craig

    Couple of loser race pimps. Why don't you talk about the racist war on drugs or pre-emptively attacking sovereign nations of brown people that your darlings Romney, Obama and Gingrich are all for?

    December 21, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. TheMendicantSandwich

    You call THAT testy?


    December 21, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. conandoyle

    The noxious comments were printed in Paul's newsletter, sent out to his subscribers, under his name.

    But now, of course, they are irrelevant and he won't take responsibility for the contents of his newsletter.

    If there was any doubt that Paul is just as much of a reponsibility-ducking, it's-someone-else's-fault as the rest of that sorry breed, this should settle it. He is.

    December 21, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. matt

    Well well Ron Paul and his complaints about him getting blacked out by the media seems to not want the media after all.

    December 21, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. Bill White

    How many times must he answer the same question? It's not difficult to understand the answer, unless you are mentally challenged... in that case, I understand.

    December 21, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Ron Paul is a loon as are all of his supporters.

    December 21, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    asked and answered and no Ron Paul did not get testy...nice try CNN

    December 21, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. Jake Burton

    Asked and answered and no Ron Paul did not get "testy" during the interview. Give it up CNN this is the will of the people, Ron Paul will win.

    December 21, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. 27Reasons

    She was pushy and rude over a ridiculous and insignificant 20 year old accusation. This is the best attack you can make on Ron Pau!?!?! completely pathetic CNN

    December 21, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. Tom

    It would be helpful if you folks in the media focused on substantive issues rather than this "gotcha" type trivia stuff. It's clear CNN is trying to stir up this issue to play off of the controversy it creates. Paul is right: the question is asked and answered. Move on and address the substantive issues that face the U.S. Stop focusing on Gingrich's marriages, Romney's religion and Obama's birth certificate type stories. The public doesn't care about this. The media and the Congress have a lot in common: they are concerned with perpetuating their empires.

    December 21, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. ED FL

    Hey Ron we are about in the same age bracket, this is good for being a grandpa or great grandpa. There is no way you have a chance at becoming president. An american President has to look alert,Impressive and be a great image to the world,none of those aspects fit you .You try to talk impressively but leave a lot to be impressive, your stature is not an asset, your commentary is weak.Go home and enjoy your grand and great grandkids. PRESIDENT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Martin Osterhout

    Contrary to Wolf Blitzer's remark that this was a tough series of questions, it was not. It is, in fact, a silly series of questions, ones that have been answered repeatedly over the years.
    Does every magazine endorse every single opinion expressed in its pages by every writer who contributes to that magazine?
    Does every radio station that airs talk shows endorse all the views expressed on those shows?
    Does every news network endorse every single opinion expressed by people on all its shows?
    The answer to all these questions is NO,of course not!
    Therefore, why would it be assumed that Congressman Paul endorses all the opinions expressed by writers of the newsletter?
    Especially as he has answered this same question on many occasions, giving the same answers each time.
    Ron Paul has always provided honest, consistent answers to any questions put to him on any subject. Therefore, one must conclude that Dr. Paul is answering truthfully in this instance, as well.
    It seems to me that this issue is brought up over and over again simply because the media is desperate to find anything they can to discredit the most open, honest, and principled candidate this country has had running for President in many decades. (And THAT is MY opinion! Please credit it to me, accordingly. Thank you.)

    December 21, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Brent

    "It's clearly a question he'd rather not be asked." And why is that? Because it's been asked and answered the same way repeatedly since the newsletters came to light. IMO, this was the reaction of an honest man. Once you've defended yourself adequately, there's no choice but to disengage if the other party won't drop the issue. He didn't write the letters, didn't edit them, didn't read them, and didn't know about them until the media brought them to light. He has maintained since then that they in no way represent his beliefs.

    Ron Paul is not a racist. If you doubt that, go find out what Nelson Linder, the Austin NAACP president, had to say about these accusations.

    December 21, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. Tom

    Ron Paul is not a Racist.
    This is just another last ditch effort you discredit someone with common sense.
    The elite are scred of Ron Paul.

    December 21, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. Earl the Pearl


    STOP THIS AMBUSH STYLE REPORTING! you are really humiliating yourself and frusterating your viewers, I've seen this discussion come up for Ron Paul time and time again, and the funny thing is that it always surfaces right after Paul receives a surge in support. STOP with the unnecessary mudslinging and stick to the issues. If you want to disagree with the man, let's stick to the policies and beliefs that separate him from the rest of the candidates. We've already established that Ron Paul is not racist and does not support racism, but he is willing to take their money to re-purpose it for a better cause. That's freedom and that's America.

    December 21, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. John

    Ron Paul has give thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time giving free medical care to African Americans, Mexicans, and Whites. THe only requirement was need and not race!!
    Ron Paul does not want to bomb Muslims or anyother people.
    How can you guys in the media act like this is real journalism? You are bought and paid for. How your soul was a worth your Mercedes. Personal my soul is worth much more...

    December 21, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. Dennis Morgan

    I believe that Americans are tired of all the WARS and LIES.

    Ron Paul has been speaking TRUTH to POWER for 35 years.

    It is time for this GREAT NATION to CHANGE COURSE!

    This is OUR COUNTRY, it is our DUTY to PRY it out of the HANDS of the ESTABLISMENT, and TAKE IT BACK!

    STAND UP and do the RIGHT THING...


    Vote for RON PAUL 2012

    December 21, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. H-daddy

    Agreed that this topic is NEW to some folks so ask away. But keep in mind that CNN etc. went over this many many times in '07 – '08. Maybe preface the questions with that idea. Dr. Paul is obviously tired of gotcha questions and the disrespect from the media. He has been enduring it for decades!

    December 21, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Faisal

    Why ask him the same questions over and over again ? Especially when the answer is that he had not written the newletters nor read them at the time and does not agree with the content.

    December 21, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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