(Updated 5:00 p.m. EST Tuesaday, January 15, 2008)
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul have complained for months that the mainstream news media have engaged in a conspiracy to keep him out of the public eye by ignoring his maverick campaign.
Now, however, they may be wishing that the media had continued to ignore him, for the Texas congressman -- who's made a name for himself as the only candidate in the GOP field who staunchly opposes the Iraq war -- is suddenly in the eye of a very unwanted media hurricane.
Paul adamantly insisted to CNN that he wasn't the author of the screeds, but in an interview with a Dallas newspaper in 1996 -- while running to regain his congressional seat he gave up more than a decade earlier -- he admitted having written them and insisted that his writings were being taken out of context.
White Supremacists Backing Paul's Presidential Campaign
The Texas congressman, who also vehemently denied being a racist, has an even bigger problem than the newsletters: Several prominent white supremacists have endorsed Paul's candidacy -- one of whom gave his campaign a $500 donation and another of whom is insisting in a statement posted on a far-right-wing Web site that the candidate has "extensive involvement in white nationalism" and is a "closeted" white nationalist himself.
Among the self-described "white nationalists" backing Paul's candidacy include former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke -- whom the national Republican leadership, including then-President George H.W. Bush, loudly repudiated in 1991 when he ran unsuccessfully as the GOP nominee for governor of Louisiana.
Bill White, leader of the American National Socialist Worker's Party, claims in a posting late last month to the Web site of the far-right-wing Vanguard News Network that "Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review" and other far-right groups at an Arlington, Virginia restaurant on a weekly basis.
Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Paul’s campaign, angrily denied White's claims, telling the Internet edition of The New York Times that neither Paul nor his aides ever attended these restaurant meetings, nor has the Texas congressman ever "knowingly" met White.
Paul's Denial to CNN Is Contradicted by '96 Interview With Dallas Newspaper
CNN acknowledged that all of the bigoted rants published in the copies of the Ron Paul Political Report newsletter obtained by the network were written anonymously and that the author's identity could not be determined. In an interview broadcast Thursday on CNN's "The Situation Room," the maverick GOP presidential candidate insisted 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, 'You're a racist' or 'Are you a racist?' And the answer is, 'No, I'm not a racist,'" Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, insisting that he never read the articles. "I do repudiate everything that is written along those lines," he said, adding he wanted to "make sure everybody knew where I stood on this position because it's obviously wrong."
But in an interview with The Dallas Morning News published on May 22, 1996, Paul not only acknowledged writing in a 1992 issue of his newsletter that "95 percent of the black men in Washington, D.C., are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," he defended his writings by insisting that they were being taken out of context by his critics.
"It's [the criticism] typical political demagoguery," he told the newspaper. "If people are interested in my character ... come and talk to my neighbors."