US candidate engulfed in row over printing racist pamphlets
Ron Paul, the US Republican candidate who is threatening an against-the-odds victory in Iowa, was engulfed in a political storm last night following the emergence of newsletters where Martin Luther King was described as a paedophile, most black men were said to be criminals and there was speculation that Israel was behind a terrorist attack on the United States.
The wild claims were made in a series of newsletters that the Texas congressman began producing in the late 1980s, where he offered paid subscribers advice on how to survive "the coming race war" and how to protect themselves from tax collectors armed with machine guns.
Mr Paul said that he did not write the letters himself, did not read them and "disavowed" their message but was under growing pressure to explain how he could be unaware of dozens of inflammatory messages which were produced over more than a decade.
A letter from December 1990 describes how Dr King "was not only a world-class adulterer, he also seduced underage girls and boys".
Another letter from 1992 reads: "Given the inefficiencies of what [Washington] DC laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95pc of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
A 1993 letter speculates that former president Bill Clinton may have fathered illegitimate children with a black woman, referring to them as "woods colts".
After a car bomb exploded in the basement of the World Trade Centre in 1993 one letter speculates that the attack may have been "a set-up by the Israeli Mossad".
The reports were promoted as a guide for Americans to protect their families and property from apocalyptic visions of social breakdown and a tyrannical federal government.
They were not paid for out of public funds but were often signed "Congressman Ron Paul".
Mr Paul has not denied that he made money from the publications and at least one signed letter ends with a request for the reader to send a cheque or order over the phone by calling 1-800-RON-PAUL.
Challenged over the letters in an interview with CNN, the 76-year-old said: "I didn't write them. I didn't read them at the time and I disavow them."
Pressed on the subject, he removed his microphone and walked out of the interview.
A spokesman later said: "It is ridiculous to imply that Ron Paul is a bigot, racist, or unethical."
The newsletters first surfaced during Mr Paul's unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid but have come under fresh scrutiny as the libertarian has overtaken rivals Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in the polls in the crucial early voting state of Iowa. (© Daily Telegraph, London)