GOSPEL OF ST. PAUL

Ron Paul Campaign Denies Ex-Aide’s Anti-Gay Allegations, Calls Him “Disgruntled”

Ron Paul’s campaign has come out swinging against former longtime aide Eric Dondero, who claimed the candidate was “out of touch” with blacks and Latinos, rabidly anti-Israel and “personally uncomfortable” around gay people.

“Eric Dondero is a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues,” Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said, according to CBSNews’ Political Hotsheet. Calling Dondero “looney-tunes,” Benton said the ex-staffer “had zero credibility and should not be taken seriously.”

For his part, Dondero told CBS he wasn’t fired: “I dispute that vehemently. I’ll take him to court over that if that’s what he’s saying.” He claims  he resigned in 2003 because of differences with Paul over his Iraq policy . (Dondero challenged Paul for his Texas congressional seat in 2007.)

It’s worth noting that if Dondero invented his allegations just to do a hatchet job on the candidate his tone was oddly muted: In his post, he defends Paul against outright claims of racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism, and paints a picture of someone who’s just a product of his generation. Even his examples of Paul’s discomfort around homosexuals—like his refusal to use a gay man’s bathroom some 25 years ago—aren’t hardly smoking guns.

Dondero’s general description of his ex-boss—as a man out of touch with the times and unwilling to distance himself from extreme elements—is pretty much in line with what we already know. Paul even said on Monday in a New York Times interview that he wouldn’t disavow support from hate groups: “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say —it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say.”

Once upon a time we’d laugh and say Paul is a nut who’s just going to tank the Republicans’ chances at the White House. But, given the direction the nation is going, we’re not laughing.

Images via Eric Dondero, Jayel Aheram