Ron Paul: I Wrote Parts of the Newsletters, Just Not Those Parts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 29 2011 10:51 AM

Ron Paul: I Wrote Parts of the Newsletters, Just Not Those Parts

NEWTON, IA -- On the way to Des Moines, I listened to a radio interview Ron Paul gave the conservative talker WHO 1040. Host Jan Mikkelson went very easy on him, at first, apart from one question I'll mention later. The only question about Paul's crisis du jour, his 1990s newsletters, came from a caller. Here's the transcript.

CALLER: Dr. Paul, how confident were you at the time that the newsletters that bore your name were representative of your views on taxes, on monetary policy, the Second Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, all the things that you hold dear? How confident were you that the newsletter accurately portrayed your views on those things?
PAUL: Well, the newsletters were written, you know, a long time ago. And I wrote a certain portion of them. I would write the economics. So a lot of what you just mentioned... his would be material that I would turn in, and it would become part of the letter. But there were many times when I didn't edit the whole letter, and things got put in. And I didn't even really become aware of the details of that until many years later when somebody else called and said, you know what was in it? But these were sentences that were put in, a total of eight or ten sentences, and it was bad stuff. It wasn't a reflection of my views at all. So it got in the letter, I thought it was terrible, it was tragic, you know and I had some responsibility for it, because name went on the letter. But I was not an editor. I'm like a publisher. And if you think of publishers of newspapers, once in a while they get pretty junky stuff in newspapers. And they have to say that this is not the position of that newspaper, and this is certainly the case. But I actually put a type of a newsletter out, it was a freedom report, investment, survival report -- every month since 1976. So this is probably ten sentences out of 10,000 pages, for all I know. I think it's bad that happened but I disavowed all these views, and people who know me best, people of my district, have heard these stories for years and years, and they know they weren't a reflection of anything I believed in, and it never hurt me politically. Right now, I think it's the same case, too. People are desperate to find something.
CALLER: But Dr. Paul, many of the newsletters are filled with conspiracies. You had one newsletter from start to finish with fear that the $50 bill, because it was going to be made pink, and it was gonna have all kinds of things that can track us down, so we should all be afraid that maybe tomorrow they're gonna require us to turn in all of our old money.
PAUL: The paper money now is pink, you know? No, we haven't had runaway inflation, but I still fear that.
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This is the most detail Paul's ever provided about the composition of the newsletters. He benefits from the format, and a host not very interested in following up; he savvily argues that the only offensive pieces of the newsletters were the ones that TV hosts et al keep talking about. The less-discussed survivalist talk? He doesn't back off that at all. And he doesn't say who's to blame for any of it, if not him.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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