Before Ron Paul walked out of an interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger on Wednesday, he snapped that she should “take the answers I give” on the bigoted, conspiracy-mongering articles that used to appear in newsletters he published. Boiled down, his answers are simple denials of responsibility, with nothing to confirm them. Unable to argue that racist material didn’t appear in the newsletters, Paul simply claims that “I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them” and adds “I disavow” all the obnoxious statements about African-Americans.
But while the Texas Congressman would prefer to end the discussion there — feeling persecuted by the continuing scrutiny — he must know by now that as a Republican presidential front-runner, all of his past statements and behavior are subject to examination by the media and voters, whether he enjoys it or not.
Published in the pre-Internet era, his old newsletters — one of which was renamed the Ron Paul Survival Report, in a timely bit of pandering to the militia movement — are difficult to find except presumably in his basement or file cabinets.
What the newsletters represent is a broader problem for Paul, whose long history of connections with extremist movements and leaders cannot be explained away by claiming someone else is to blame. Reporters and researchers who have followed Paul’s campaigns during the past few cycles have documented his ties with the Neo-confederate movement, the Texas secessionists, the openly racist Council of Conservative Citizens, the John Birch Society, and a variety of other unsavory figures on the far right.