Appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Friday night, Ron Paul was asked to run down the list of his fellow Republican presidential candidates to give his impressions. It was pretty tame until he got to Michele Bachmann. "She hates Muslims," Paul said, giving Leno the sort of look one uses when describing a bigoted great uncle who's set in his ways. "She wants to go get 'em."
Paul also tagged former senator Rick Santorum with the same label. When Leno suggested all Santorum wants to do is "talk about gay people," Paul added, "and Muslims."
Paul's comments have attracted notice, from Politico, ABC News and other outlets. So far, no response from Bachmann's campaign. According to the campaign's website, Bachmann was busy launching her 99-county bus tour across Iowa on Friday, and local reporters say the crowds are coming out.
From the Des Moines Register:
In Le Mars, Bachmann met an excited crowd of about 30 that cheered her every word and at times yelled out her points of emphasis before she could get them out herself. There and elsewhere, Bachmann likened herself to former British Prime Minister and archetypal conservative Margaret Thatcher and made plenty of references to President Ronald Reagan.
Meanwhile, the guy who is accusing Bachmann of hating Muslims has had his own run-ins with hateful speech. Recall the 2008 furor over James Kirchik's article for The New Republic about the newsletters published under Ron Paul's name over twenty years. They, among other delights, compared black people to "animals," called Martin Luther King Jr. a pedophile, and warned of imminent race war.
Paul's campaign rebutted the criticism in 2008 by saying that the offensive material in those newsletters, which dated to the 1980s, were not written by Paul, and that he didn't see them before they were published; Kirchik, who quickly became a target of scorn for Paul's supporters, said the campaign had changed its story about Paul's authorship of some of those memos.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.