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 in Seattle

    He became testy when CNN didnt accept his answer. The reporter kept at it, and at it, and at it, and NEVER was satisfied with any answer Paul gave.

    It was a BS interview... just like Blitzers interview with Dick
    'shoot me in the face" Cheney... where Blitzer threw Cheney nothing but softball questions...

    December 21, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. steve

    The media no longer has any credibility regarding this election. The people know the facts. Honest politician.. Ron Paul

    December 21, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. Polo

    I understand it's the news job to make sure voters like me are aware or are in the know about presidential candidates (after all they are running for the presidency of the U.S.). However, this is just ridiculous. Especially, as he is "defensive." Wouldn't you be if a reporter is insinuating you are a racist? Give me a break CNN.

    December 21, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  4. Chuck Williamson

    Ron Paul is a BOSS!!! He was like "get out of here with your ignorant smear questions I ain't got time for this" LoL! Go get em Ron! Only CNN can play off a 20 year old news story like it is breaking news.

    December 21, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  5. The Dude

    Try as you might, you will not tarnish this man. I voted for Obama but will vote for Ron Paul if given the chance.

    December 21, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  6. joe

    You know, I don't blame the guy one bit. You keep badgering him about this stupid newsletter thing, and I've heard him explain it over and over again on more than just your network. How about actually talking to him about his positions so that I can learn something about the guy? I really don't care about something he is clearly against that happened 20 years ago. What I do care to hear about is how he will change the government to get things going in the right direction again. What is this, the E! channel or something?

    December 21, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  7. Paulus

    Well, Obama is a prooven racist. Maybe the black guilt will get Paul into the Oval Office.

    December 21, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. kmcyle

    uhhh.... So what ? Lol i love how the news is picking the word testy all the time Mitt got testy also

    December 21, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  9. Mark

    Wow, from Cain to Paul to Sarah, these candidates all want media gift wrapped for them in nice edible sound bites – but god help you if you question their history. Either he stands by what was written in his name or not.

    December 21, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. Alex from Florida

    This is absurd. No matter what Congressman Paul says, the mere fact that his name is being associated with these horrible letters is only going to bring bad things to his campaign. The messages in these letters go against everything he stands for, and his consistent record in fight for civil liberties supports this. It's an assassination attempt on his character and James Kirchick needs to be punched in the head...repeatedly.

    December 21, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Ken

    Well, maybe if you'd stop asking him the same question over and over again you'd stop getting the same answer over and over again...

    December 21, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. pagoda

    I have to admit I don't think Paul was out of line for stopping the interview.

    CNN asked him about this multiple times in the past week and now multiple times in the same interview. Never with any new angle to the question any new information being brought up by CNN – just lazy journalism.

    The letters are an issue, but they certainly aren't the only issue.

    December 21, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Jason

    I've noticed that those who support Ron Paul do not live in fear. This is his greatest asset. Fearful people always want war and to spend problems away. Neither are productive to our fundamental values. The people who live in fear live a brainwashed life, and sadly, some are ok with that. The massive egos, false wealth, and ignorance that accompany this constant subconscious fear are truly massive in this country. This is not freedom. It’s self-isolation.

    December 21, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  14. OldRightRep

    If Ron Paul really believed or stood for the comments in these newsletters then they wouldn't be the only evidence. He's been giving speeches for 40 years. Never once has he been quoted saying anything close to what is written in the newsletters.

    The newsletters have been explained thoroughly, and he has accepted that he bears some moral responsibility for allowing these to be written in a newsletter bearing his name.

    December 21, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Matt Krasucki

    I think it is vitally important for a viewer to form a credible opinion that the video be shown in its entirety.

    December 21, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. Jim Farmer

    If I was Ron I would have done the same thing, it gets old listening to the same questions over and over from reporters who have not done their homework. The newsletters are old news, when compared to Ron's personal writings and speeches of the last 30 years, it becomes obvious that the newsletters do not represent Dr. Paul's values. Why he doesn't name the writer...who knows. Frankly if this is the only dirt that the media can dig up then that in itself speaks loudly about the integrity of Ron Paul.. I'm all for vetting the nominees, but really lets talk about how they are going to fix all that is wrong with this country.

    The media needs to grow up and start delivering some quality programming.

    December 21, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  17. Aprelle McCarty

    It's funny, because he answered the questions, in fact the reporter even quotes the answers back to CNN newsguy. But you media who ignored him until you couldn't anymore, now feel the need to try your hardest to make him fall. Well, his record speaks for itself, he speaks for himself, you just don't want to hear and you want to make your own stuff up. You are bought and paid for, and you don't report news, you report what you are told to report.

    December 21, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. Matt

    If Ron Paul did write these, and was not afraid to do so at the time, shouldn't there be at least one audio or video clip of him saying anything even remotely similar? If he had no problem writing that, he certainly wouldn't have a problem saying it. I think that the fact there is no evidence of Ron Paul ever saying anything like that is conclusive proof that these were not his writings and that it was an unfortunate case of him lending his name to other writers. Further, it is important to note that after Ron Paul discovered what was in these newsletters, he immediately changed the staff responsible for writing them. That right there shows that not only did he not write them, but he is adamantly against them (and his speeches and pro-black policies regarding civil liberties prove that as well).

    December 21, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  19. Troy Hallewell

    Old News. He didn't write it, he didn't read it. Find some real news and quit asking the same questions.

    December 21, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  20. Matt

    Ron Paul answered the questions directly and repeatedly. It seems you are trying to create controversy where there is none. Your bias is embarrassingly obvious. Is that all you have against Ron Paul? Is that your A game? Pathetic. Those of us "fanatics" who are being attracted to Ron Paul in droves are concerned with the larger issues of ending war, foreign entanglements, sound fiscal policies, and of course freedom.

    December 21, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    20-30 years ago views and you guys still digging them up!? he gave you an answer which covered all of them you did not like it and because you wanted to rake over again 20- 30 year old news.
    Give us all a break and ask him what his policy is today.
    There are hundreds of things I have done or said in my lifetime that I EITHER REGRET OR AM UNHAPPY ABOUT.
    Just maybe I am a better man or person for recognising those things.
    this was gutter reporting.
    PS I do not and would not vote for Ron Paul and this report has nothing to do with why.

    December 21, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  22. Lenn

    "Paul, who had left Congress at the time and was practicing medicine, has repeatedly disavowed the controversial remarks in the newsletters." said CNN.
    Then what more do you expect to hear? Even as a registered Democrat, I can understand Senator Paul's point, that when you continue to ask the same question and he gets to give the same answer it gets old. Just ask NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. : )

    December 21, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Darren

    And the smear campaign beings... Its a legitimate question yeah, but not when you've already asked it and received a legitimate answer for years . What every news organisation is trying to imply by reporting on these dead issues is that he's a racist, and he's not because that would go against his entire belief system of liberty, freedom, and seeing every1 as an individual and not as a set group.

    December 21, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. a1ckdavis

    Its nice that you show the full clip here but the one shown on tv was a little bit different.

    The interview segment starts IMMEDIATELY, with Mr. Paul obviously answering another question (which we do not get to see). Mr. Paul says:

    "Not all the time. On occasion yes."

    This has been edited and taken out of context, to make Ron Paul appear as if he admits that he read the newsletters "on occasion".

    Borger says:

    "So you have read them but you didn't do anything about it."

    This is the second time in this interview that this unethical reporter implies Mr. Paul has admitted that he had read the newsletters.

    Mr. Paul responds categorically:

    "I never read that stuff. I became aware of them 10 years after they were written."

    Conclusion: Possibly slander?

    December 21, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  25. Carl

    Well, I'd be a bit testy too if you asked me the same question four times in a row (3 that we see here, and the one that was obviously asked before we 'break-in' to this interview) that I just answered in a few different ways.

    December 21, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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