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. Blaine

    Newt gets a pass until Paul shows that the media is not doing its job again, now the media regurgitates a 22 year old story in retaliation. He had 14 of these newsletters, and once he found out that some were not representing them properly, he shut them down. Who else has promised to end the war on drugs and to pardon all non-violent drug offenders? That is not a platform that will help him in the GOP primary, and it proves that he is not racist because most of the people slammed for non-violent offenses are minorities.

    December 21, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  2. mike

    This was debunked years ago and CNN is re-hashing them again and again now?
    The only candidate who would not turn on blacks or Jews if it was politically to his advantage, and they are pulling this?
    Look how fast the rest go after Muslims to garner the Israel lobby support.
    If our economy tanks further (possible) and people start scape-goating Jews in large numbers, you think Gingrich, Bachman or Romney will help them? Only Ron Paul has the courage and record to support individuals regardless of race.
    Ron Paul 2012!!!!!

    December 21, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  3. Nick

    I don't think Paul was testy. He did answer the journalists question. You can see a bit of an edit in running time from his answer to the journalist pressing him a 2nd time. Who knows what was said then. Did the subject change and she brought the newsletters back up? Did he give a long non-answer?

    December 21, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  4. Independent Radical Conservative Liberal


    Way to use loaded words.

    I'm a little tired of CNN always bringing up the same points against Ron Paul. If that's the worst you've got on him, something he says someone else wrote that was published twenty years ago, maybe you should just vote for him.

    December 21, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  5. peyo

    This reporter obviously has bias. Ron Paul already answered her questions and that probably was the 10th time he has answered this to CNN. And the question is NOT tough. Of course, Paul could've handled it in a more cool-headed fashion.

    December 21, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  6. Jason Grae

    Dont blame em one bit. Looked like someone "pestering" em even after he gave a concise answer. Reminds me of the idiotic media pestering em over and over "BUT are'nt you going to run 3rd party"? CNN hates Ron Paul, simple as that.

    December 21, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  7. CM

    I'd do the same thing if the media kept asking me the same questions multiple times a day.

    December 21, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  8. biased1

    So now the elitists at CNN are gonna preach to us about racism. Never mind CNN never discusses any of the real racism we face – the acute islamophobia, the Drug War, the incarceration of 5% of the black male population, the gun-walking operation that knowingly put innocent Mexicans at risk for political leverage. That's the real face of racism, that's what Ron Paul addresses, not the propaganda and info-tainment you losers fill your articles with. If you think these newsletters show that Ron Paul is a racist then you have no clue what real racism is like.

    December 21, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. Joshua Ludd

    Just another Republican who thinks its unfair to bring up things he actually said or actually did. Memo to Ron Paul.. in a situation like this you act contrite and say that there are things in there that you do not actually agree with or do not agree with anymore... you do not get huffy about people bringing it up. Not that we really need to bring things like this up to know that Ron Paul as President (or any Libertarian) would be a disaster. As I've been saying for a while now... Ron Paul 1812!

    December 21, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  10. ScottJM

    The warlords of the MSM have unleashed the hounds to stick a microphone in front of Paul to drag this nonsense up again in hopes that people who don't pay very close attention will bite. Notice how they went after Herman Cain about the mistrisses and affairs, oh wait, they didn't. This is the only thing they have from Paul's past to drag up, it's been answered over and again, he didn't write this stuff and he doesn't espouse it in any part of his social or political life.

    December 21, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  11. a1ckdavis

    I'm just saying if you are going to talk about this on tv, show the whole interview.

    December 21, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. Instead of Politics

    If a couple of newsletter articles written almost thirty years ago by an unknown ghostwriter is the best that Dr. Paul's opponents can dig up, then he must be a true saint. If they are seriously afraid that he will attack blacks and gays as president, they had better do their homework on Dr. Paul's political positions.

    December 21, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. Eric

    This is a non-issue that has already been debunked, clearly the establishment is getting nervous

    December 21, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. Pudintane - Ask Me Again An' I'll Tell Ya The Same

    If Mr. P isn't responsible enough to check what is in a publication he has published, how can he be responsible enough to lead the country?

    December 21, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Nicholas Lambros

    Of course he got "testy", he didn't write them. Not only that, but they get mentioned EVERY time he is on CNN. Gotta' love how CNN doesn't mention he is #1 in the polls in Iowa, but mentions a ghost-written letter for the fifteenth time.

    December 21, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. Scott Blevins

    This isn't news it's history. Anybody who thinks he is racist in anyway is accepting the propaganda of the mainstream media which has a great deal to lose, financially if Ron Paul becomes president. Before you vote, do your own research. Our greatest hope to move this country in a positive direction is to have this man as our president.

    December 21, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  17. Zee

    Does everyone else tire of this kind of garbage like I do?

    December 21, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  18. Ethan

    Well, I agree this looks bad. However, I believe him when he says he did not read the newsletter until WAY after it was distributed. I understand that with ALL the things he is tasked with doing he cannot read every little line. It takes a LOT of trust in other people and that time the trust really broke down and some one stabbed Ron in the back. I believe Ron Paul because of all the things HE believes in that would promote true equality. Drug laws are discriminatory because they really do put more minorities in jail. Some may make the comment, "Minorities break more laws so they deserve it". Well, I say this back. It was a white majority that made those laws after witnessing the minorities using the drugs. I say if you hurt no one but yourself then I'll leave you be. If you hurt someone, THAT is when we through the whole library at you.

    December 21, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. Omar

    I am very shocked.I can't believe this is journalism.Fox news defend Republicans and CNN seems to favor Democrats.This is not an interview but an insult to black people.I am black and I would vote for the gentleman and the way he reacts tells me he is a honest man.Thats whats racism feels like.A lost of word and real uncomfortable and the power to not go crazy.As if you think this interview would determine black vote.Wow is this what the media is now worth.The last place to watch news and this is what we get.

    December 21, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  20. Wow CNN

    If these questions are so legit, then why didnt you ask them when Ron Paul wasnt in the lead in Iowa. Why do you only care when he becomes the frontrunner? Same with Cain and Gingrinch.Obviously for more controversy and ratings. Seems like instead of presenting all the info from the get go, you only choose to show it to weaken the Republican base. And barely mentioning Ron Pauls lead in Iowa, and trying to devalue a victory in Iowa. These newsletters are past news, and I trust Ron Paul over any other politican. Try being more reasonable CNN, dont be like Fox

    December 21, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  21. Terry

    Suddenly, I understand why the Tea Party faithful like Ron Paul. Birds of a Feather......

    December 21, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  22. Eric Hudson

    Typical. He leads the polls and finally should get attention and they bring this up. Its old news. I'm sure you have something about Romney or Newt you could report about rather than this. Its getting old. And so is the bias.

    December 21, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  23. jeremy

    Show us one other thing that he has said that would indicate these are his thoughts or ideas. I would appreciate some real investigation in to his character and policy ideas, not some newsletters from 20 years ago that he has disavowed several times (on CNN I might add). If he believes these things then no one will want to support him publicly unless that want to be branded a racist. Clearly people don't see that in his character, and that's why they are going to vote for him and he will win hundreds of delegates this primary season. I am embarrassed for you people who think you are good journalists when I read this kind of stuff. You are responsible for messing with the minds of good people and manipulating their thoughts and ideals.

    December 21, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Amber

    Ron Paul is not a raciest. Anyone that has taken the time to look into him and listen to what he has to say, knows that he didn't write the newsletters.

    December 21, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. sidneyhop

    Ron Paul will win Iowa, and he will win New Hampshire in spite of all the corporate propaganda CNN and the rest of the MSM spews! What does this tell you?!

    The people are WAKING UP!!! We dont buy the LIES and BS you're selling CNN!!!

    December 21, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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