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. Rob in Austin

    No real surprise here. For anyone who watches Ms. Borger on a weekly basis, she's a big Obama groupie with a very clear agenda – get him re-elected at all costs! She's just doing her part...

    December 21, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. Sam Richards

    This is a sadly pathetic attempt at playing the race card and it is going to backfire. The corporate media is afraid of Ron Paul's growing popularity and is attempting to distract Americans from his real message of freedom, limited government, and putting an end to unnecessary wars. We are awake. Ron Paul in 2010!

    December 21, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  3. A-Jay

    I never had a concern about Ron Pauls opinon with respect to race, until reading this article. Well now that I've done a bit, and I will say again-" a bit" of research regarding this I'm very curious as to the validaty of the follwoing article written back in 2006 -> "Newsletter excerpts offer ammunition to Paul's opponent ", by Alan Bernstein, Houston Chronicle, May 23, 2006 Dose Ron have a new opinion or is he just covering his true opinion up? I do know this, it's time to challenge the topic

    December 21, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  4. dean rogers

    what a load of crap – this is the best they have against Ron Paul? the media and republican establishment are grasping at straws – there is nothing there – there were years of newletters and the media and establishment list 3 or 4 quotes out of context and claim "racism" – what a joke – Ron Paul 2012!!

    December 21, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. Shaun Macie

    Ron Paul in the lead in the polls, time for the MSM to drag out their shovels and try to find anything "newsworthy" to discredit Paul. Deja Vu from the 2008 Republican primaries, they dragged out the same story then too.

    December 21, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. Uber

    Ron Paul will clean the house in 2012, take the crap out.

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  7. Extention

    To be fair, he did answer the question the first 9 times she asked him. Of course CNN shows the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th time she asked him the same question which he still answered...

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. Chris

    I'm sure CNN would rather that Paul embraced these letters. It would certainly make their efforts to destroy the only honest presidential candidate that much easier.

    I would challenge CNN to show me a single positive story they have produced about Paul....something that doesn't discount his candidacy as "long shot", "quioxotic", "unlikely", or otherwise. He is the only candidate that fights for peace, and the corporate owned media can't stand a politician that isn't pre-owned by them.

    Now, we have CNN digging so deep for dirt that they have to mine a 20 year history for something PAUL DID NOT EVEN WRITE.

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. rik

    Too little, too late MSM. Paul's ideas are spreading and no matter how much you try there isn't anything you can do about it at this point.

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. Phillip Cooper

    YEAH, why dont you go back and look at his interview with Wolf Blitzer? same topic, rehashed from 4 years ago. You have the answer already, and he is right. It's not like he's involved in a scandal or purposely trying to debunk the myth that this is. Who knows that it may be a different RON PAUL? or what if it was a strategy to MOCK HIM and threaten his interest in congress and the 1988 presidential campaign? how about you ask more questions, and maybe you'll get answers, instead of trying to choke a dead dog out of an answer you will never get?

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. SteveJ

    With respect to CNN, it seemed pretty clear to me. He read some of the newsletters. Perhaps he read 10% percent. Or maybe less than that. There are volumes of them. Easily possible he did not see these comments. He didn't write them. He doesn't agree with them.

    To say that he was pressed further appears to be inaccurate. Rather he was asked the same question again, as if something remained unclear. He again answers. He is then asked the same question again, as if something remained unclear.

    I am perfectly willing to scrutinize Ron Paul if it is legitimate. For example, he has a book out: "End the Fed." He wrote it. He signed off on it. If one of these comments had popped up in his book, you would have a legitimate journalistic reason for inquiry.

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. Nick

    Just a pathetic attempt by the media to try to bring him down

    December 21, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. Scattel2z

    I think he did very well considering CNN thinks of themselves as a legitimate news organization and reporting on same issue they've reported on several times in the past. The best thing about this controversy is that he simply sponsors the news letter because of its freedom of speech premise which began long before these letters showed up. Next is reporting about how he hates jews because he does not support aid to Israel naturally because he does not support aid to any country. Especially not one that is as rich and prosperous as Israel.

    December 21, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  14. hemmingway

    Wow I was wondering when the knives would be out

    December 21, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. Phillip Cooper

    and always remember kids, logic defies all opinion.

    December 21, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. JuanVonDinklus

    I'm not a big Ron Paul fan but he's the best of the republicans from the way I see things. At least he has conviction in what he says, and isn't just coached by handlers as to how to answer routine questions. He actually believes what he says and is honest. The rest just act like yahoooosss!

    December 21, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. Jessica

    Mainstream media is trying very hard to negatively influence the voters opinion of Ron Paul.

    It is not working very well.

    Ron Paul 2012

    December 21, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. Mary

    I wasn't happy with Paul's responses on this. He got really defensive and blamed the media when these are legitimate concerns. It's a shame because I actually liked the guy until now. He seemed more likeable than most of the other GOP contenders.

    Not anymore.

    December 21, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. Tony

    Ron Paul 2012!

    CNN is not the media it is the mafia!! Stop bullying this man! Stop bullying the American people! We know you have a narrative and don't like your version of the world. We want freedom not elite to dictate our every move.

    Freedom 2012!

    December 21, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. jenkins

    He gave his answer and it seem not to be good enough. He would like to talk about the issue. He should walk away, so he doesn't get caught up mis-speaking out of fustration. Ask anothe question. He has been asked this same thing by the media over an over. Ask about thing that affect america.

    December 21, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Matt


    FACT: The president of the NAACP has recently stated that Ron Paul is NOT a racist and that this newsletter is being falsely applied to Ron Paul.

    Keep it up mainstream media, your losing the faith of the people one story at a time.

    December 21, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  22. Chris

    How many times is one supposed to disavow something??

    The media in this country is a joke. Please, just keep reading from your talking points cards you people get from the political parties. When we needed the media, they failed us. You're still failing us. A bunch of dinosaurs anyways.

    December 21, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  23. MedicMax

    These newsletters should be enough to bury Ron Paul in the eyes of normal people.

    Either he is truly a racist bigot, or he has such poor leadership skills that he doesn't even review what gets published under is name. Neither quality is what we need in a president.

    December 21, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  24. Harjinder Kandola

    Newsletters from the 1980's....are you serious??
    What does that have to with his policy stances on specific issues?

    I cant even remember what books i read back in high school(6 years ago). How can you expect him to remember a newsletter in the 1980's?

    Just another attempt but the "established" media to discredit Ron Paul.

    December 21, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. Old T Dude

    Congressman Paul is right to be defensive about accusations of racism. Although I've never met him, I believe him to be generally a good, honest, truthful, and intelligent human being; attributes not normally associated with racism.

    December 21, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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