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Spokesman Rejects Report That Ron Paul 'Signed Off' On Racist Newsletters

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, during Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in Jacksonville, Fla.
Paul J. Richards
AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, during Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in Jacksonville, Fla.

For more than a decade, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has had to deal with questions about why a newsletter he published in the 1980s and '90s included some racist writings. He's said more than once that, while he takes responsibility for what was in the newsletters, he didn't pay enough attention to what was printed, wasn't aware of the racist messages at the time and rejects them.

Today, The Washington Post reports that some people who worked with Paul on the newsletter say he "signed off" on a plan to include provocative racial statements in the newsletters in order to boost circulation.

The Post's sources are a mix of named and anonymous persons who it says have "direct knowledge of Paul's businesses."

The Post adds, though, that Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton "said that the accounts of Paul's involvement were untrue and that Paul was practicing medicine full time when 'the offensive material appeared under his name.' "

According to Benton, Paul "abhors it, rejects it and has taken responsibility for it as he should have better policed the work being done under his masthead."

The Post also reports that "numerous colleagues said [Paul] does not hold racist views."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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