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. Mark McKee

    It was the "reporter" who got testy. I guess Mr. Paul was expected to answer the same question, in the same interview, more than 6 times? All Paul did was take off the mic when it became clear that this dullard was either developmentally disabled or merely trolling. Testy would have been if Paul finally said out loud what any reasonable viewer knew he was thinking; "Lady, are you freakin stupid"? It is a truly sad day when a journalist can make any Republican candidate seem more intelligent. I'll bet she's hard to break up with, a psycho hose beast. "you understand that we have to ask these questions??" over & over & over even if you answered over & over & over. Wolf could stand to lay off the crack pipe as well. Shyahh, like that's his real name. It's so obvious he made it up for the war...

    December 21, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. LaVey

    What's funny about this is that Ron Paul straight up answered the question and yet the interviewer doesn't seem to realize it. Congressman Paul says he didn't write them, he didn't read them at the time, and he disavowed them. What more needs to be said on some decades old newsletters that have nothing to do with the problems that we're facing today? I can't believe I wasted my time watching that clip and I can't believe I'm wasting my time writing this comment.

    December 21, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. gg

    please shut down the republican clown show

    December 21, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  4. Paul

    Jeeeze, DROP IT LADY. He answered the question. He answered it for about 5mins yesterday on CNN, he's answered it about 500 times before with the same answer so unless you can come up with some new information that suggests he's lying, DROP IT ALREADY.

    The news coverage relating to RP is so hopelessly biased from left and right it's shocking he's above 1% anywhere. Shows the power and how deeply imbedded American's belief in liberty and freedom is. Also shows what an existential threat he is to the "establishment" on both sides.

    I wish CNN was so dedicated to vigorously pursuing questions relating to democratic scandals. Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Nancy Pelosi's stock trading, just to name a few recent ones; why don't you hound them time and again with such alacrity?

    Where was this vigorous reporting when, during the last election, it was revealed Obama attended a church and was married by a minister who was virulently and openly anti-american and racist? That was pretty effectively swept under the rug after a few soft-ball questions by the MSM.

    December 21, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. woo

    yawn, this is so 1990's. Ron Paul 2012

    December 21, 2011 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  6. Buford T Justice

    he's right.

    December 21, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  7. Elliott Carlin

    Wow, a re-hashed discredited story from years ago. Meanwhile Newt Romney spend 45 minutes of each debate trying to prove they are conservative.

    December 21, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. sophiefaught

    maybe he's tired of being asked the same questions over and over and being discredited and smeared by the media.

    December 21, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. faceh

    Nice to see a decent article without too much spin.

    The fact is that Ron Paul can stand up to as much scrutiny as the media can throw at him, but when CNN asks the same set of questions over and over again, its not scrutiny, its badgering.
    Keep at it, I suppose. Paul gets attention either way. But we really ought to be talking about the issues. Whether Ron Paul is a racist or not is not an issue. He's given his answer, and unless there is further proof on the matter, there's no reason to hammer the man on it.
    With that said, I'm fairly confident that he can handle himself.

    December 21, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. Jay

    Looked more like a standard walk out; I was hoping to see some “storming”. I am disappointed.

    Paul has been talking about those newsletters since the 90s, he discussed them with Blitzer in 2008, and he just spoke to CNN yesterday about them. I would be bored with Borger too.

    December 21, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Jason H. Smith

    According to Ron Paul, he had six staff writers working, for him: one of whom, made these inflammatory statements and attributed them, to him.
    Might it not be too much to imagine that this person may have been an intelligence community plant, whose sole aim and purpose was to discredit Dr Paul?
    But that, surely, would be yet another conspiracy theory that we seem to hear so much about, lately.
    Now, where's that tin foil hat, of mine?

    December 21, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. KLRoss

    Both Ron Paul and Gloria Borger were a bit defensive. Borger even seems a bit needy, wseeking assurance that the question needs to be asked, knowing at some level that she is not breaking new ground on an issue that has been thoroughly dealt with repeatedly over a two-decade period. Strategically, Ron Paul would have been better off not showing his anger but his impatience with Borger was justified.

    December 21, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. danbeaulieu

    Seemed more disgusted in our MSM's poor journalism. I don't see them grilling Gingrich about his adulturist past or getting booted from congress.

    The MSM is do EVERYTHING they can to smear Ron Paul.

    December 21, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  14. Neil

    So... After being asked the same question multiple times, and giving you the same answer, the headline CNN comes up with is "Ron Paul Gets Defensive" Thats some pretty bad journalism from a man who gave a respectful answer to a disrespectful reporter.

    December 21, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. bilbo

    Old news...but then...that's all they got...

    December 21, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Thinker

    Ron Paul is honest and has the best republican record when it comes to helping out minorities. He's friends with the head of the NAACP and has been for 20 years.

    December 21, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Kevin L

    Well I'm not much of a fan of Paul, I have to say, this "interview" appears to be more of an ambush. Its funny that CNN would send someone to ask him the same question when he dealt with it quite thourghly just yesterday with Ali Velshi and John King.

    December 21, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Grant

    I've been waiting for this. I've been waiting for the MSM, GOP establishment, and CNN to dust off these charges to use for ammo when Dr. Ron Paul took the lead in Iowa.

    So very predictable. So very sad.

    These newsletters are a non-issue. Look at all the thousands and thousands of speeches Ron Paul has delivered.

    December 21, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. LOST in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    when it comes to sensitive racial matters it appears with Paul it's like father like son.

    December 21, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  20. Joyce

    He didn't write them and that was 20 years ago so yeah I would be mad too if I wasn't Racist and was called one.

    December 21, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hard to believe that any republican can unite America, when they are destroying their own party with infighting.

    December 21, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. Satberry

    I guess the fruit does not fall far from the tree . Like father like son .The hate from the repukes continue.The Grover norquist loone Ron paul and son.

    December 21, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  23. Max

    He didn't write those articles. Cain never cheated on his wife and O.J Simpson didn't kill his wife. They all said that they didn't do these things. When are the Americans going to learn this?

    December 21, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. tozzie

    There were more racial comments in those newsletters, calling blacks "animals" and suggesting people arm themselves against them. They had his name on them, were supported and printed and paid for by his organization and sent to its members. What's the difference between disavowing them now and Cain denying his trysts?

    December 21, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  25. Joshua J,

    There is absolutely no credible reason why CNN would imply that anyone is a racist without someone else actually making that claim. It is glaringly obvious when not one single person will go on the air and say it that it has no substance.

    You Paul people can be annoying with your aggressiveness, but I'm starting to see your points. I am a Republican and you can count on my "up your's media" vote for Paul in Florida.

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