EXETER, NH -- Ron Paul, whose surging poll numbers have made him a top-tier presidential candidate in Iowa, was vetted like a frontrunner campaign stops in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
The Texas congressman took to the trail as news outlets reported on a renewed interest in Ron Paul newsletters from the 1990s that contained slurs against homosexuals and African Americans. The most recent issue of The Weekly Standard dug up some of Paul's old newsletters. An article from June 1992 reads "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks,” the magazine reports. Another suggested that AIDS patients should not be allowed to eat in restaurants since, according to the opinion, "AIDS can be transmitted by saliva.”
But today, Paul maintained he did not write the articles, which contained no byline. Instead, he said it was an example of a political attack stemming from his rise in popularity.
"Nobody talked about it for 20 years until they found out that the message of liberty was making progress," Paul said outside a variety store in Manchester. "And everybody knows I didn’t write them, and it’s not my sentiment, so it’s sort of politics as usual.”
The presidential candidate faced similar questions about the writings in 2008, though not as much was uncovered about the publications and Paul had not risen to the profile he now holds. Then, like now, he denied knowing the author.
After a town hall meeting on Monday night Paul told reporters, though cautious, he considers himself the frontrunner in Iowa. Though he may be on the verge of breaking through in the Hawkeye State, the presidential candidate spent two days in New Hampshire, where polls have him closer to the middle of the pack.
Before the resurrection of Paul's newsletter, one of his biggest criticisms had been what his Republicans rivals have called a weakness on foreign policy. Paul has expressed an unwillingness of U.S. involvement in foreign affairs -- even in instances where national security is at stake. But the 76-year-old Texan has dismissed the claims that his policy is one of isolationism.
"The other Republicans are saying, 'Boy, this is his downfall, how can he do it with his foreign policy?'" Paul said Monday. "I happen to think its one of the reasons I'm rising in the polls is because the American people are tired of the wars, and are tired of spending their money, so I think it's a big positive."
His rise in popularity today was apparent with the media contingent following him on the campaign trail. Press flocked to four campaign stops here, despite the fact that Paul did not so much as deliver his stump speech. Instead, he took a tour of a small business, took questions from high school students, and popped in to surprise shoppers at a convenience store in Manchester. Later in Exeter, Paul made what his campaign called "a retail stop," where the candidate walked into a series of local businesses and introduced himself.
Paul holds a town hall event tonight before heading back to Iowa.