Ron Paul on Thursday downplayed the fringe aspects of his old newsletters, saying on an Iowa radio program that the most offensive passages were probably only a small portion of the overall content.
“There were many times I did not edit the entire letter and other things were put in,” he told a caller on the Jan Mickelson radio show. “I was not aware of the details until many years later. These were sentences that were put in, eight or 10 sentences. It wasn’t a reflection of my views at all. It got in the letter and I thought it was terrible.”
He added that the newsletter content in question was “probably ten sentences out of 10,000 pages,” and that he only focused on producing the “economics” part of the publication.
But the promotional materials advertising the newsletter from the time indicate that the most out-there racist and homophobic lines were far from a rare sideshow.
One 1993 direct mail piece aimed at attracting potential subscribers name-checked “the coming race war,” “the federal-homosexual cover up on AIDS,” “the Israeli lobby that plays Congress like a cheap harmonica,” and described an elaborate conspiracy theory in which US officials would use newly introduced currency to impose martial law. All in just eight pages specifically devoted to summarizing the newsletter’s broader themes for new readers. That’s a pretty high density of fringe.
Jamie Kirchick, who compiled the newsletters four years ago, told TPM that the most incendiary parts were hardly stray cases.
“Ron Paul’s characterization of the newsletters as only containing ‘eight to ten sentences’ that can be characterized as ‘offending’ is preposterous,” he said in an e-mail. “As anyone can see from the scans of the newsletters available on the TNR website or posted elsewhere, the documents contain pages upon pages of bigoted statements and outright paranoia.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.