The Ron Paul camp is now denying to TPM that Paul himself wrote the circa 1993 direct mail piece that Reuters first reported about last evening. So let’s unpack this.
At a certain level I don’t think anyone really believes Paul actually wrote his own eight-page direct mail hit, but it does appear over his signature and here’s what his Iowa campaign chairman Drew Ivers told Reuters:
“It is ridiculous to imply that Ron Paul is a bigot, racist, or unethical,” Ivers said.
However, Ivers said, Paul does not deny or retract material that Paul has written under his own signature, such as the letter promoting Paul’s newsletters.
When asked whether that meant Paul believed there was a government conspiracy to cover up the impact of AIDS, Ivers said, “I don’t think he embraces that.”
Paul’s newsletters “showed good factual information and investment information,” Ivers said. “It was a public service, helping people understand and equip them to avoid an unsound monetary policy.”
I read that as, look, Paul isn’t going to disassociate himself from something he signed, but those aren’t the issues he’s focused on nowadays. There are other ways to interpret it, but that seems like a fair and accurate reading of what Ivers was saying. That also happens to undermine the defense Paul has fallen back on most often: that he wasn’t directly involved in overseeing his newsletters, won’t vouch for the most toxic stuff, and in fact disavows it.
Who among us hasn’t had virulently racist and anti-semitic screeds penned in our name without our knowledge? But at least it’s a defense. Ivers shot that horse out from under Paul with his comments to Reuters.
So we contacted the Paul campaign this morning, and now his national spokesperson, Jesse Benton, is throwing Ivers under the bus, telling our Benjy Sarlin:
Dr. Paul did not write that mail piece and disavows its content. … Drew Ivers is a great guy and leader, but he was not speaking on behalf of the campaign and is not acquainted enough with the issue to have the facts.
At the end of the day, does it matter if Ron Paul’s actual fingerprints are found on the original of the direct mail piece that went out in his name, over his auto-pen, selling his newsletters, and making him money? Hard to see why we need forensics for what is plainly obvious: Ron Paul was trafficking in some of the most noxious extremism of the early ’90s.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.