Ron Paul's 'racist newsletters': The 'testy' CNN interview

After being hounded about his role in publishing controversial missives in the '80s and '90s, the GOP hopeful grows increasingly agitated and storms off camera

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was put on the defensive Wednesday by CNN's Gloria Borger, who pushed Paul to answer for allegedly racist newsletters published under his name in the '80s and '90s.
(Image credit: Screen shot, CNN)

The video: On Wednesday, Ron Paul joined the growing list of politicians who have called it quits in the middle of an on-camera interview. (Watch the video below.) Speaking with CNN's Gloria Borger, Paul grew increasingly frustrated with questions about a series of allegedly "racist newsletters" that were published under his name in the 1980s and '90s. The newsletters have surfaced several times over the years, but became highly publicized again this week when Paul catapulted to the top of Iowa presidential polls. The missives have titles like Ron Paul's Political Report and Ron Paul's Freedom Report. Among the controversial passages: Although "we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational"; and, "Am I the only one sick of hearing about the 'rights' of AIDS carriers?" When Borger repeatedly asked why Paul allowed the newsletters — which he reportedly made nearly $1 million from — to be published under his name, Paul responded, "I didn't write them. I didn't read them at the time and I disavow them." When Borger continued, Paul got "testy," removed his microphone, and walked away.

The reaction: How ironic, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. Ron Paul desperately wanted members of the media to start taking his candidacy seriously, and now that they are, he "seems thoroughly annoyed." Serious presidential candidates have to answer tough questions — end of story. Indeed, says Glynnis MacNicol at Business Insider. And storming off in a huff is "probably not the best way to appeal" to voters just hearing about these letters for the first time. Well, while bailing mid-interview wasn't a great idea, says The Humble Libertarian, Paul shouldn't have to keep defending himself against these newsletters. It's "a smear and a distraction from the substantive issues" that actually matter. See for yourself:

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