NEW YORK CITY -- For the second time in as many runs for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, controversial newsletters Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) published in the 1980s and 90s are threatening his candidacy.
The newsletters have plagued him since he ran to reclaim his seat in Congress in 1996. As he vies for an upset win in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, they continue to shadow him today. What's changed, from then to now, is Paul's explanation.
Pressed recently about the contents of the Ron Paul Political Report, Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter, Paul has simply denied direct involvement.
"I didn’t write them," he told CNN, when asked about the newsletter's racist descriptions of urban society and paranoid conspiracy theories about federal government. "I disavow them. That's it."
But since Paul spoke to CNN, a number of old videos have surfaced showing him touting the newsletters that were being put out under his name. Paul's defenders have noted that even in those video clips, he does not claim authorship, which is true. Back when the issue first arose, however, he was willing to acknowledge that the words were his -- the only complaints he made were about context.
The Huffington Post went through archived newspaper clips from Paul's '96 congressional campaign against Lefty Morris and unearthed several new instances of Paul or his campaign pleading for a more sympathetic understanding of what he wrote.
The Dallas Morning News -- May 22, 1996.
Dr. Paul denied suggestions that he was a racist and said he was not evoking stereotypes when he wrote the columns. He said they should be read and quoted in their entirety to avoid misrepresentation.
Dr. Paul also took exception to the comments of Mr. Bledsoe, saying that the voters in the 14th District and the people who know him best would be the final judges of his character.
"If someone challenges your character and takes the interpretation of the NAACP as proof of a man's character, what kind of a world do you live in?" Dr. Paul asked.
In the interview, he did not deny he made the statement about the swiftness of black men.
"If you try to catch someone that has stolen a purse from you, there is no chance to catch them," Dr. Paul said.
Austin American-Statesman -- May 23, 1996
"Dr. Paul is being quoted out of context," [Paul's spokesman, Michael] Sullivan said. "It's like picking up 'War and Peace' and reading the fourth paragraph on page 481 and thinking you can understand what's going on."
"You have to understand what he is writing. Democrats in Texas are trying to stir things up by using half quotes to impugn his character," Sullivan said. "His writings are intellectual. He assumes people will do their own research, get their own statistics, think for themselves and make informed judgments."
Austin American-Statesman -- July 25, 1996
Morris distributed Paul's article to reporters at a Capitol news conference. It was not the first time. Morris has been scrutinizing Paul's writings and sharing his findings with reporters. In May, he released an article in which Paul described a majority of black men in Washington, D.C., as ''semi-criminal or entirely criminal.''
Morris, a Bee Cave lawyer, once again called on Paul to release back copies of the newsletter he has published for more than a decade. Paul, a Surfside obstetrician, has refused.
He said he has written ''thousands of items'' during the past 20 years and that releasing these materials would be impractical. Paul said releasing all those writings would be like asking Morris to ''provide documents for every lawsuit he has been involved in during his lengthy legal career.''
A request for comment from the Paul campaign was not immediately returned.