The first "American Idol" has announced who she wants to be the next American president. Her choice isn't helping her approval ratings.
"I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance," Kelly Clarkson wrote on Twitter and WhoSay on Wednesday. "If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he's got my vote. Too bad he probably won't."
Like Paul, Clarkson hails from Texas. And like Paul, Clarkson is a fan of limited government. But given her status as a pop star, she caught a lot of criticism from fans who were enraged over Clarkson's endorsement amidst the ongoing controversy over racist and homophobic newsletters that were sent out under Paul's name in the 80s.
Addressing the criticism, Clarkson later tweeted:
"I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent. I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women's rights, men's rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he's my favorite."
Clarkson later told an angry Twitter follower that "I have never heard that he's a racist? I definitely don't agree with racism, that's ignorant." She told another that, "I love all people and could care less if you like men or women. I have never heard that Ron Paul is a racist or homophobe?"
The pop star continued her defense, saying: "Man my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y'all ever disagree with something I say please don't feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect. Being hateful is not a healthy way to get people to see or hear you. I was raised to respect people and their decisions and beliefs and I hope you will grant me the same decency. If you don't agree with me simply unfollow me. It's really that easy. I hope you don't because I would love the chance to hear what you have to say but if you're so blinded by hate you can't seek peace and progress then that is your unfortunate prerogative."
Clarkson told a fan that she is a Republican but voted Democrat in 2008. Clarkson performed at a July 4th gala for President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama in 2010.
Here's a sampling of Clarkson's back and forth with angry fans on Twitter: