Ron Paul is Done Talking About the Newsletters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 21 2011 6:26 PM

Ron Paul is Done Talking About the Newsletters

Here I thought that serious scrutiny of Ron Paul's brief newsletter-publishing career would come after he won the Iowa caucuses. No, sir. CNN ropes Paul into an interview with Gloria Borger. In her corner: A verite camera (why is it shot like this?) and a bunch of questions about the Ron Paul Survival Report. In his corner: A microphone he can take the hell off.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Borger, like CBS News before her, makes an awkward transition -- Paul is no longer a wacky kewpie doll, but a candidate she wants to pin down on something she's briefed herself on. Paul makes her job easy, because he doubles down on the claim that he basically shot off the newsletters without reading them. (I want to meet someone who subscribed to this, and see what he thinks!)

PAUL: I never read that stuff. I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written. And it's been going on 20 years, that people have pestered me about this, and CNN asks me every single time. When are you gonna wear yourself out? When are you gonna do that?
BORGER: Is it legitimate? Is it a legitimate question to ask that something went out in your name?
PAUL: And when you get the answer, it’s legitimate you sort of take the answers I give. You know what the answer is? I didn’t write them. didn’t read them at the time and I disavow them. That is the answer.
BORGER: It’s legitimate, it’s legitimate. These things are pretty incendiary.
PAUL: Because of people like you.
BORGER: No, no, no, no. Come on. Some of this stuff was very incendiary. Saying, you know, in 1993, the Israelis were responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center.
PAUL: Okay. Goodbye.

The mic is off. Borger is apologetic, as someone who just won an argument can afford to be. "Thank you congressman," she says. "I appreciate you answering the questions, and you understand it's our job to ask them."

So: The floodgates are at least inching open. It's now comfortable for CNN and CBS to pepper Paul with these questions. (He says CNN "asks me every single time," but he's done scores of CNN interviews since 2008 where this never came up.) He has answered some of the questions, but only some -- he has never said who wrote the offending stuff, and whether he still associates with the author. I think that's the wound that the press can keep poking. Imagine a less sui generis politician -- imagine, say, Mitt Romney being found out for having published internal Bain memos, or something, that indulged in conspiracy theories. The media wouldn't let him off if he just said someone else must have written them.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Watch Little Girls Swear for Feminism

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.