WASHINGTON – Rep. Ron Paul has tried since 2001 to disavow racist and incendiary language published in Texas newsletters that bore his name, denying he wrote them and even walking out of an interview on CNN Wednesday. But he vouched for the accuracy of the writings and admitted writing at least some of the passages when first asked about them in an interview in 1996.
Some issues of the newsletters included racist, anti-Israel or anti-gay comments, including a 1992 newsletter in which he said 95% of black men in Washington "are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
Paul told TheDallas Morning News in 1996 that the contents of his newsletters were accurate but needed to be taken in context. Wednesday, he told CNN he didn't write the newsletters and didn't know what was in them.
Paul, who leads polls in Iowa leading up to the caucuses there on Jan. 3, published a series of newsletters while he was out of Congress in the 1980s and 1990s called The Ron Paul Political Report, Ron Paul's Freedom Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report and The Ron Paul Investment Letter.
In 1996, Paul told TheDallas Morning News that his comment about black men in Washington came while writing about a 1992 study by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, a criminal justice think tank in Virginia.
Paul cited the study and wrote: "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
"These aren't my figures," Paul told the Morning News. "That is the assumption you can gather from the report."
Nor did Paul dispute in 1996 his 1992 newsletter statement that said,"If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be."
'I didn't write them'
Now, Paul says he had nothing to do with the contents of the newsletters published in his name.
"Why don't you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I've said for 20-something years, 22 years ago?" Paul said on CNN Wednesday. "I didn't write them. I disavow them. That's it." Paul then removed his microphone and abruptly ended the interview.
Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said the congressman was practicing medicine at the time the newsletters were published and "did not write or approve the incendiary passages and does not agree with them."
"He has, however, taken moral responsibility because they appeared under his name and slipped through under his watch," Benton said. "They do not reflect what he believes in: liberty and dignity for all mankind. … Dr. Paul, renowned as a straight shooter who speaks his mind, has given literally thousands of speeches over the past 35 years, and he has never spoken such things."
Paul gave the Morning News interview in 1996 to reporter Catalina Camia, who is now a reporter for USA TODAY.
"I covered Congress and the Texas delegation for The Dallas Morning News," Camia said Wednesday. "I don't recall the specifics of this interview. The story speaks for itself."
The content of the newsletters was recently brought back to light in the most recent edition of TheWeekly Standard.
In the article, reporter James Kirkchick describes tracking down many of the newsletters at the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society and noted that they contained few bylines, making it hard to decipher who was the author of the inflammatory writings.
Statements in newsletters
A 1992 newsletter about Washington referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as "the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours."
Another newsletter about AIDS said people suffering from the disease should not be allowed to eat in restaurants "because AIDS can be transmitted by saliva," a claim that is not supported by medical evidence. Paul is a physician.
In 2001, Paul told the magazine Texas Monthly that the language in the newsletters wasn't his, but his campaign staff told him not to say others had written it because it was "too confusing."
"I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me," he said. "It wasn't my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around."
Texas Monthly said of Paul: "It is a measure of his stubbornness, determination, and ultimately his contrarian nature that, until this surprising volte-face in our interview, he had never shared this secret. It seems, in retrospect, that it would have been far, far easier to have told the truth at the time."
Paul's story changes on racial comments â€“ USATODAY.com (http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2011-12-21/ron-paul-racist-newsletters/52147878/1)
(View full article @ BX below)
Dec 21 - Ron Paul's story changes on racial comments (http://slumz.boxden.com/f5/dec-21-ron-pauls-story-changes-racial-comments-1672909/)