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Honestly, it's hard to blame Ron Paul for flying first class a lot as a congressman, even if it does seem to conflict with his image as the only serious deficit hawk in the Republican primary race. The Associated Press published a report Monday morning that found Paul "flew first class on at least 31 round-trip flights and 12 one-way flights since May 2009 when he was traveling between Washington and his district in Texas." That's a lot of first-class flying, but it's also just a lot of flying, period. We get pretty sick of coach on our two or three flights a year, so it's easy to imagine a 76-year-old who flies a lot for work and even more on the campaign trail gets pretty crampy. The AP found Paul bought government-rate tickets that are more expensive than regular economy-class tickets but allow for last-minute cancelations and first-class upgrades. "Paul charged taxpayers nearly $52,000 on the more expensive tickets, or $27,621 more than the average Continental airfare for the flights between Washington and Houston," the AP reported. But he didn't have the government pay for his campaign travel, and he did buy tickets designed to be used by people in government, so as far as scandals go, this one seems pretty minor. Yes, it's an example of hypocrisy on Paul's part, but it's also pretty hard to fault the guy.

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