Dallas Morning News, The (TX)

The Dallas Morning News

May 22, 1996

Candidate's comments on blacks questioned

Author: Catalina Camia; Washington Bureau of The Dallas Morning News

Edition: HOME FINAL
Section: NEWS
Page: 8A
Dateline: WASHINGTON

Index Terms:
ELECTIONS '96

Estimated printed pages: 3

Article Text:

WASHINGTON - Dr. Ron Paul, a Republican congressional candidate from Texas, wrote in his political newsletter in 1992 that 95 percent of the black men in Washington, D.C., are "semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

He also wrote that black teenagers can be "unbelievably fleet of foot."

An official with the NAACP in Texas said the comments were racist and offensive.

Dr. Paul, who is running in Texas' 14th Congressional District, defended his writings in an interview Tuesday. He said they were being taken out of context.

"It's typical political demagoguery," he said. "If people are interested in my character . . . come and talk to my neighbors."

Dr. Paul, an ex-congressman and former Libertarian Party presidential candidate, defeated Rep. Greg Laughlin, R-West Columbia, in April for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House.

An obstetrician from Surfside, he faces Democratic lawyer Charles "Lefty" ! Morris of Bee Cave in the November general election. Mr. Morris, who said he was familiar with the writings in question, declined to comment about the specifics.

"Many of his views are out on the fringe," Mr. Morris said. "But voters in the 14th District have to characterize these the way they see it. His statements speak for themselves."

According to a Dallas Morning News review of documents circulating among Texas Democrats, Dr. Paul wrote in a 1992 issue of the Ron Paul Political Report: "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be."

Dr. Paul, who served in Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s, said Tuesday that he has produced the newsletter since 1985 and distributes it to an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 subscribers. A phone call to the newsletter's toll-free number was answered by his campaign staff.

Dr. Paul also said he did not know how his newsletter came to be ! included in a directory by the Heritage Front, a neo-Nazi group based in Canada. The newsletter was listed on the Internet under the directory's heading "Racialists and Freedom Fighters."

No one answered calls to the Heritage Front, which lists only a hotline connected to a tape-recorded message in the Toronto telephone directory.

Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP, urged Dr. Paul to apologize for his comments about blacks and asked Republicans to denounce their nominee.

"We need someone who can represent all the constituents of Texas, not someone who is negative or engages in stereotypes," Mr. Bledsoe said. "Someone who holds those views signals or indicates an inability to represent all constituents without regard to race, creed or color."

About 11 percent of the population in the 14th District, stretching from near Austin to the Gulf Coast, is black.

Dr. Paul denied suggestions that he was a racist and said he was not evoking stereotypes when he wrote the columns. He said they should be r! ead and quoted in their entirety to avoid

misrepresentation.

Dr. Paul also took exception to the comments of Mr. Bledsoe, saying that the voters in the 14th District and the people who know him best would be the final judges of his character.

"If someone challenges your character and takes the

interpretation of the NAACP as proof of a man's character, what kind of a world do you live in?" Dr. Paul asked.

In the interview, he did not deny he made the statement about the swiftness of black men.

"If you try to catch someone that has stolen a purse from you, there is no chance to catch them," Dr. Paul said.

He also said the comment about black men in the nation's capital was made while writing about a 1992 study produced by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, a criminal justice think tank based in Virginia.

Citing statistics from the study, Dr. Paul then concluded in his column: `Given the inef! ficiencies of what DC 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."

"These aren't my figures," Dr. Paul said Tuesday. "That is the assumption you can gather from" the report

Caption:
PHOTO(S): Dr. Ron Paul . . . says his comments are being taken out of context.

Copyright 1996 The Dallas Morning News Company
Record Number: DAL1568670