Dave Weigel of Slate.com reported Thursday that GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul admitted writing parts of the now controversial newsletters that have attracted so much attention.
On the way to Des Moines, I listened to a radio interview Ron Paul gave the conservative talker WHO 1040. Host Jan Mikkelson went very easy on him, at first, apart from one question I’ll mention later. The only question about Paul’s crisis du jour, his 1990s newsletters, came from a caller.
According to a transcript provided by Weigel, the caller asked:
Dr. Paul, how confident were you at the time that the newsletters that bore your name were representative of your views on taxes, on monetary policy, the Second Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, all the things that you hold dear? How confident were you that the newsletter accurately portrayed your views on those things?
Well, the newsletters were written, you know, a long time ago. And I wrote a certain portion of them. I would write the economics. So a lot of what you just mentioned… his would be material that I would turn in, and it would become part of the letter. But there were many times when I didn’t edit the whole letter, and things got put in. And I didn’t even really become aware of the details of that until many years later when somebody else called and said, you know what was in it? But these were sentences that were put in, a total of eight or ten sentences, and it was bad stuff. It wasn’t a reflection of my views at all. So it got in the letter, I thought it was terrible, it was tragic, you know and I had some responsibility for it, because name went on the letter. But I was not an editor. I’m like a publisher. And if you think of publishers of newspapers, once in a while they get pretty junky stuff in newspapers. And they have to say that this is not the position of that newspaper, and this is certainly the case. But I actually put a type of a newsletter out, it was a freedom report, investment, survival report — every month since 1976. So this is probably ten sentences out of 10,000 pages, for all I know. I think it’s bad that happened but I disavowed all these views, and people who know me best, people of my district, have heard these stories for years and years, and they know they weren’t a reflection of anything I believed in, and it never hurt me politically. Right now, I think it’s the same case, too. People are desperate to find something.
One part bears repeating: “And I wrote a certain portion of them.”
Contrast that to Paul’s statement in late December when he was interviewed by CNN’s Gloria Borger:
“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? I didn’t write them, I disavow them, That’s it.”
One part of this exchange bears repeating: “I didn’t write them.” It is possible Paul was simply referring to the more controversial statements in the newsletters, rather than all the content of the newsletters, but the conflicting answers raise even more questions.
His statement to the WHO caller, however, would seem to verify a statement made by former staffer Eric Dondero, who told the Spokane Conservative Examiner that Paul wrote 20 – 30 percent of the content in the newsletters.
Dondero also said that Paul was “obsessed with the newsletter,” and added that nothing was printed without his permission.
But the caller wasn’t finished. Weigel posted his follow-up:
But Dr. Paul, many of the newsletters are filled with conspiracies. You had one newsletter from start to finish with fear that the $50 bill, because it was going to be made pink, and it was gonna have all kinds of things that can track us down, so we should all be afraid that maybe tomorrow they’re gonna require us to turn in all of our old money.
To which Paul replied: “The paper money now is pink, you know? No, we haven’t had runaway inflation, but I still fear that”
A post at the conservative blog Hot Air notes:
“Eight or ten sentences”? Pick through TNR’s archive of the newsletters and see how much there is. Or scroll through this guy’s Twitter timeline; he’s been tweeting the choicer excerpts (sometimes repetitively) since before Christmas. Much depends, I guess, on what you think qualifies as “bad stuff.” Everyone agrees that the racist material is bad; how about the five paragraphs devoted in one newsletter to the idea that AIDS might have been engineered at Fort Detrick? How about the section a few months after the first World Trade Center bombing wondering whether Mossad might be responsible? How about the fact that Paul was willing to speculate on camera in 2008, a year in which he was running for president, that the Bilderbergers were chatting about controlling the world’s banking and natural resources? Dwelling on the racist aspects of the newsletters actually lets him off the hook because not only can’t anyone prove that he wrote those passages, even some of his critics like Eric Dondero admit they’ve never heard him use racist language in private conversation. The question isn’t whether Paul’s a racist, it’s whether the racist elements in the newsletters point to a more broadly paranoid worldview that Paul does appear to hold in some respects.
This is the most detail Paul’s ever provided about the composition of the newsletters. He benefits from the format, and a host not very interested in following up; he savvily argues that the only offensive pieces of the newsletters were the ones that TV hosts et al keep talking about. The less-discussed survivalist talk? He doesn’t back off that at all. And he doesn’t say who’s to blame for any of it, if not him.
But Eric Dondero provided much more detail about how the newsletters were constructed, and said Paul is not telling the whole truth about his role in their production.
More on Ron Paul at lodeplus.com can be found here.
If you like this article, you can follow Joe on Twitter @jnewby1956, visit his Facebook page, or click the Subscribe button to receive email updates when a new article is published.