Did Ron Paul look Sean Hannity in the eye after the Sioux City debate on Fox News -- and play fast and loose with the facts of his newsletter?
In this video of Hannity interviewing Paul, at the 5:00 marker Hannity begins asking Paul about the newsletters. Paul flatly denies writing them. But never once mentions that he approved them. Instead, he directs Hannity to an article in the Texas Monthly that Paul says deals with the issue.
The Texas Monthly aricle requires registration for readers. But unfortunately for Mr. Paul, over at the site of the Capital Free Press (here) reporter Patrick McEwen registered and reports on what he found. And what he found directly contradicts what former aide Eric Dondero has said in The American Spectator. In the Texas Monthly, Paul steadfastly denies writing the newsletters. But never once hints that he personally approved them -- the charge Dondero is making.
Now, Dondero, in recent Comments posted (scroll down) on The American Spectator, challenges the truth of the notion that Congressman Paul somehow was unaware of the content of his controversial newsletters. He does confirm that Paul associates wrote the newsletters (including Lew Rockwell, the controversial ex-Paul chief of staff) but insists Paul himself was fully involved in the approval process. With Hannity sitting inches away on national television, Paul never admits that in fact he himself approved the newsletters… as Dondero now asserts… "every line of them."
The newsletters, which surfaced in the last presidential campaign, have re-emerged in a year in which other GOP presidential candidates have had their pasts re-opened for vetting.
Old allegations about Newt Gingrich's marital infidelities, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and Mormonism, and Herman Cain's problem with sexual misconduct allegations (all still unproven and flatly denied by Mr. Cain) have dominated the airwaves and the Internet. All have been grilled by Hannity on each allegation -- at length.
Says Dondero of the newsletter (full text below*), Ron Paul "did read them, every line of them, off his fax machine at his Clute office before they were published. He would typically sign them at the bottom of the last page giving his okay, and refax them to Jean to go to the printer." There is not a word of this in the Texas Monthly article that Paul uses to deflect Hannity.
On another occasion, Paul slips and slides through a 2008 interview with Wolf Blitzer on the same subject. Paul repudiates what was written, but very carefully limits himself to saying he never wrote these things.
Here's the problem.
Ron Paul doesn't seem like a racist. He has in fact spoken out saying -- correctly -- that racism is in fact collectivism. He says this is simply not part of his character -- and his supporters insist this is so. Yet the newsletter content, publicized several years back by the New Republic, seriously opened the issue in documented fashion.
But the issue seems to be sliding, in light of former Paul aide Dondero's assertions that Dondero appears to have witnessed. The issue is moving slightly but critically from race -- to truth telling.
Simply put: did Ron Paul "read them, every line of them" and then sign off on them? Or not?
If Dondero is telling the truth, then Ron Paul looked Sean Hannity straight in the eye the other night -- and deliberately evaded the truth.
Four years ago he appears to have done the same thing to Wolf Blitzer.
For a candidate whose supporters routinely accuse George W. Bush of having lied about the Iraq War, the idea that Paul himself is repeatedly less than truthful -- with a specific accusation from a former aide -- is big trouble.
*Dondero's post to The American Spectator is reprinted below, verbatim:
Eric Dondero| 12.18.11 @ 8:24AM
Lew Rockwell and Jeff Tucker wrote the Newsletters (with major input from Murray Rothbard and Marc Thornton). Jean McCiver edited them for clarity and grammar out of the Houston office on Nasa Blvd. Ron was merely a figurhead.
But he did read them, every line of them, off his fax machine at his Clute office before they were published. He would typically sign them at the bottom of the last page giving his okay, and re-fax them to Jean to go to the printer.
Eric Dondero, Personal Asst./Travel Aide
Ron Paul, Libertarian for President, 1987/88
Crdtr. Ron Paul for President Exploratory Comm. 1991
Campaign Coordinator, Ron Paul for Congress, 1995/96
Senior Aide, US Cong. Ron Paul, 1997-2003