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Ron Paul is not having the best holiday season. First the media discovered racist, anti-Semitic newsletters that went out under Paul’s name in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Then the New York Times did a story about the support Paul draws from white supremacists and anti-Semites.
Now there’s former Paul staffer Eric Dondero purporting to describe the ins and outs of Paul’s positions on everything from Israel (it shouldn’t exist) to Hitler (we shouldn’t have fought him) to 9/11 (U.S. authorities may have known about the attacks) to Afghanistan (we shouldn’t have invaded). He calls Paul’s foreign policy “sheer lunacy.”
Or, as the conservative Weekly Standard summarized in hits headline: “Ex-Aide Says Ron Paul Is a 9/11 Truther & Isolationist Who Thinks U.S. Shouldn't Have Fought Hitler.”
In his 2,100-word piece, posted at RightwingNews.com, Dondero says he held several campaign and Capitol Hill posts with Paul from 1987 to 2003. At his own website, LibertarianRepublican.net, he said he was revealing much of the information for the first time. “Much of what I have to say will not please the liberal media hacks. Though, the Ron Paul diehards will find much objectionable, as well,” Dondero wrote.
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton, in a statement circulated to the media, called Dondero “a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues. He has zero credibility and should not be taken seriously.”
Dondero goes out of his way to say that Paul is not anti-Semitic or a racist. He said Paul has hired many black and Hispanic employees and “I never heard a racist word expressed towards Blacks or Jews come out of his mouth. Not once.” In fact, Paul’s current campaign spokesman, Gary Howard, is black.
Still, any way you cut it, the picture Dondero paints isn’t pretty. Among his contentions:
--Paul is anti-Israel. “His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.”
-- “He is not all bigoted towards homosexuals. He supports their rights to do whatever they please in their private lives. He is however, personally uncomfortable around homosexuals” and refused to use a bathroom in a gay supporter’s home.
-- “Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11.” He planned to vote against the invasion despite threats of staff resignations and a constituent uproar, Dondero says; he changed his mind at the last minute.
“If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters. It’s over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States. His near No vote on Afghanistan. That is the big scandal,” he concludes.
Paul has said he did not know what was in the newsletters. The Times looks at the newsletter issue more broadly, and gets Paul to comment on his less savory supporters. He told the newspaper that he rejects their extremist views but not their backing.
CBS’s Rodney Hawkins contributed.