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Ron Paul’s Self-Inflicted Handicap

Because the media doesn’t view Ron Paul as a serious contender for the GOP nomination, he’s gotten almost no scrutiny this season for some of the uglier skeletons in his closet – most notably, his infamous newsletters that promoted outright bigotry.

Sean Hannity was the first to question Paul about the newsletters after last night’s debate:

Hannity: Why do you not take responsibility for the things that were in your individual newsletters?

Paul: In 2002, the Texas Monthly reviewed that and they wrote a long, long article, and that’s a liberal newspaper, so you read that and you’ll find out –

Hannity: I read Reason magazine which is libertarian and –

Paul: I did not, I did not write it. And I do not support those views. And they’re painted to make me think that, you know, I’m a racist or something.

Hannity: There were some very racial things in there.

Paul: I’m the greatest defender of civil liberties, especially when it comes to the inequities in our judicial system, you know, with blacks, the imprisonments for the drug wars, the number of blacks to get the death penalty.

Hannity: I gotta run. Let me ask you one last question. Do you know who did write it and do you repudiate what was in your newsletter?

Paul: I do not. And I don’t believe anything, any of that stuff that they’ve quoted.

Ron Paul has had three years to formulate a response to these questions, since Jamie Kirchick’s investigation into his newsletters came out in The New Republic. He had to know that he was going to get asked about this at some point during his campaign. And that’s his answer? That he doesn’t know who wrote these things? That’s completely unacceptable.

And this was during a friendly interview with Hannity, who didn’t push back too hard. Imagine how that same conversation would have gone with someone from CNN or MSNBC, or even one of the news anchors from Fox.

The polls are showing that Paul actually has a good shot of winning in the Iowa caucuses, and he certainly has the passionate supporters and ground game to potentially pull it off. But it’s important for voters to remember Paul’s insurmountable, self-inflicted handicap, and why he has no chance of becoming president.