Fifteen Years Ago, Ron Paul Wasn't Claiming Somebody Else Wrote His Newsletters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 26 2011 2:44 PM

Fifteen Years Ago, Ron Paul Wasn't Claiming Somebody Else Wrote His Newsletters

These two finds from Andy Kaczynski come from the year before Paul's congressional comeback; shades of Gary Hart daring the media to follow him. (What's usually forgotten was that local Florida media was already on to Hart's scandal.) First, some details about the newsletter trade.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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Next, start at 1:40 here:

It's nice to have this in the public record, but what's new about it? Paul made money from the newsletters. Paul advertised the newsletters. He doesn't claim anything new in these videos. No -- as Sam Stein notices, with a look back into the Nexis machine, it was only in 1996 that Paul acknowledged that he wrote some of the newsletters. In a Dallas Morning News report from May 1996, Catalina Camia asked Paul to explain some of the more embarassing stuff in the survival reports. Paul had not yet seized on his current line, that he had "no idea who wrote" this stuff. What about that line concerning fleet-footed black muggers, for example?

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.
He also said the comment about black men in the nation's capital was made while writing about a 1992 study produced by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, a criminal justice think tank based in Virginia.
Citing statistics from the study, Dr. Paul then concluded in his column: Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
"These aren't my figures," Dr. Paul said Tuesday. "That is the assumption you can gather from" the report.

Twelve years later, he was telling CNN he had "no idea who wrote those things." Today, he's sticking with the same line. This is what politicos call an "evolving postion." You might have another word for it.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.