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January 10, 2008

Will Fox Ask Paul About The Newsletters In Tonight's Debate? (Bumped:CNN Reports)

UPDATE & BUMP, 4:30 pm: CNN's covering this now. They've also got their copies of the newsletters, and are quoting freely. David Gergen is saying that they should be "totally ventilated", meaning that they should get the widest possible dissemination. Matt Welch looked pretty uncomfortable answering for the candidate. Paul's staff says they won't try to find the authors.

Paul then got interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, and Paul says it's coming up now "for political reasons". "Everybody knows ... I'm not a racist." He says that libertarianism doesn't mesh with racism. Now he says that he gets the most black votes in the race, presumably among Republicans. Wolf is allowing Paul to soliloquize here. "67% of blacks are in prison"? I think he's confusing statistics here.

Who wrote it? "I have no idea". He says a publisher has no idea what appears in their publications. "Why don't you believe me?" Wolf is acting pretty much like a potted plant here, as Paul monologues without taking much of a breath.

Ha! He did get Paul to state that he never read his own newsletters. Now he's calling it a "witch hunt". Excuse me? These are his newsletters! Wolf now is saying what a great guy Paul is. Not exactly hard-hitting interviewing here. He's not asking the key question here: how did these statements go on in his newsletters for 17 years without Paul noticing it, and how that kind of incompetence -- if he didn't know his own organization was regularly disgorging this despicable material -- reflects on his ability to run a nation.

Very disappointing. Let's hope Fox does a better job of making Paul answer those questions.

UPDATE II: Bryan at Hot Air is also left unimpressed with the softballs tossed by Blitzer at Paul:

But do you know what irks me most about this interview? It’s the way Wolf Blitzer just lets Paul sandbag him with long, irrelevant answers. He lets Paul rant on and on about what a great, tolerant guy he is ... He left [the] job to the other GOP candidates in tonight’s debate, and I wonder if he didn’t do that intentionally.

He's got video of the interview, too.

Original post follows ...


Fox News will broadcast another debate with the Republican presidential candidates tonight, and will include Ron Paul in this edition. Paul and his supporters bitterly complained about the network's exclusion in their debate last week, but may not enjoy the scrutiny Paul might receive after the exposure of the contents of his newsletter by The New Republic:

Following the New Hampshire primary, six Republican candidates will attend Thursday night's debate in Myrtle Beach, state party officials said today.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee have all accepted their invitations, said Rob Godfrey, spokesman for the state Republican Party.

"The stakes couldn't be higher this election, and we couldn't be more excited to extend a warm South Carolina welcome to six White House hopefuls who are seeking the Republican nomination," said Katon Dawson, chairman of the state GOP.

To be invited, candidates must have placed in the top 5 positions in the New Hampshire poll -- McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani and Paul -- or be polling at least 5 percent nationally, such as Thompson.

Those objective standards leave Duncan Hunter off the stage, which is really a shame. Hunter provides a clear, rational conservative voice in these events. Fox used a fair standard for inclusion this time; three states have now held caucuses or primaries, and it's significantly less whimsical than their last attempt. However, I'd still like to see Hunter in the mix, especially given the inclusion of Ron Paul.

Will Fox demand an explanation from Paul for the statements in his newsletters? Brit Hume and Chris Wallace have not shied away from tough questions in the past. The seventeen years covered by James Kirchick unearthed a treasure trove of lunacy, including the following:

In a passage titled "The Duke's Victory," a newsletter celebrated Duke's 44 percent showing in the 1990 Louisiana Senate primary. "Duke lost the election," it said, "but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment." In 1991, a newsletter asked, "Is David Duke's new prominence, despite his losing the gubernatorial election, good for anti-big government forces?" The conclusion was that "our priority should be to take the anti-government, anti-tax, anti-crime, anti-welfare loafers, anti-race privilege, anti-foreign meddling message of Duke, and enclose it in a more consistent package of freedom." ...

A 1988 newsletter cited a doctor who believed that AIDS was created in a World Health Organization laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. In addition, Ron Paul & Associates sold a video about Waco produced by "patriotic Indiana lawyer Linda Thompson"--as one of the newsletters called her--who maintained that Waco was a conspiracy to kill ATF agents who had previously worked for President Clinton as bodyguards. As with many of the more outlandish theories the newsletters cited over the years, the video received a qualified endorsement: "I can't vouch for every single judgment by the narrator, but the film does show the depths of government perfidy, and the national police's tricks and crimes," the newsletter said, adding, "Send your check for $24.95 to our Houston office, or charge the tape to your credit card at 1-800-RON-PAUL."

In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, "Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo." "This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s," the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter's author--presumably Paul--wrote, "I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming."

Any one of these statements would have sent politicians into well-deserved retirement. The media would have latched onto any David Duke endorsement and rightly noted the connection to the Klan and supremacist organizations. That comes as a piece with the rest of the Jewish-conspiracy mongering, and the reference to blacks as "animals" is undisguised hatred.

Paul will probably respond with his insistence that he knew nothing about what went into these newsletters, which is patently absurd. These newsletters cost him a bundle over the years, and they brought in a bundle in receipts as well. As the passage above shows, his newsletters were an explicitly commercial enterprise; he made money off of sales and merchandising from them. Either he'd have to be a complete and utter moron to have all of this happening over a period of at least seventeen years without ever reading his own material, or the explanation lies elsewhere.

More interesting will be the reactions of the other candidates when Fox asks about this. Until now, they have treated Paul as a tiresome yet amusing colleague, ignoring his rants except on 9/11. Will they denounce these statements and Paul's refusal to rationally account for them -- assuming Fox asks the question? If Hume and his crew skip the question, will one of the candidates bring it up anyway?

Hopefully, they will. Paul wanted to be in the debate. Let him answer on national television for these appalling tracts and his comfort with their publication for so many years. If he tries to say that he had no idea what his own organization is publishing over two decades, let him explain how that qualifies him as competent to run anything else at all, let alone the country.


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There is no other possible explanation for this answer. Paul told CNN's "The Situation Room" Thursday that he didn't write any of the offensive articles and has "no idea" who did. "When you bring this question up, you're really saying,... [Read More]

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