Ron Paul (R)

Age (new!)

Numerous commentators have pointed out that John McCain would be handicapped greatly by his age -- in 2008 McCain will turn 72, which would make him the oldest man ever elected to a first term as President. What is less known is that Ron Paul is even older: he was born in 1935, meaning that by Election Day he'll be seventy-three.

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Racist remarks in newsletter

Back in 1992, Ron Paul's official political newsletter -- published under his own byline -- contained some absolutely shocking statements about African Americans. Some examples: "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions." ""Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." Paul even commented on the supposed athleticism of African American street criminals: ""If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."

In 2001, five years after the remarks were brought to light by the Houston Chronicle, Paul tried to deny that the words were his -- "other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around," he said -- but unsurprisingly, he declined to name names as to who these alleged "other people" might have been.

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9/11 Truther?

Ron Paul lingers surprisingly close to the discredited and offensive ideas of "9/11 Truthers," who believe that the September 11 attacks were orchestrated by someone other than Al-Qaeda -- perhaps even by the U.S. government. On multiple occasions, Paul has appeared on the radio program of 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Moreover, he met with the Student Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a meeting that was captured on video here:

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Implied that U.S. deserved 9/11 attacks

In an exchange at the May 15 Republican presidential debate, Ron Paul suggested that our enemies abroad are justified in hating America. The quote:

They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East [for years]. I think [Ronald] Reagan was right. We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. Right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.

 

Supporters spamming web polls

Ron Paul is styling himself as the straight talker in the GOP primaries, but his web fans are engaging in some pretty crooked dealings with online polls. A number of political sites have been forced to pull Paul's name from their polls because his campaign is encouraging his supporters to flood the polls with pro-Paul votes. In mid-May, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs caught Paul's spammers at work:

I'm going to be removing Ron Paul's name from any further LGF straw polls, because his supporters are deliberately spamming our polls to make it appear as if Paul has more support than he does. . . . They aren't "cheating," as in voting multiple times, but they have sent out emails and posted the link to our poll at several spots on the web, urging people to go vote for Paul. The end result is the same -- the poll results are skewed, and it's not an accurate measure.

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