CNN’s Soledad O’Brien did a fine job Wednesday of quizzing Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul regarding the above tweet. It flew out of the Paul operation last night, though the campaign came to its senses and deleted it. The erasure, however, came after plenty of Twitter hawks had retweeted and saved it.
In responding to O’Brien’s inquiries, Paul could have simply apologized to the Huntsman campaign, taken responsibility for the tweet and moved on to talking points about the Fed and Iran. But he instead pulled a Ron Paul, denying, blustering, parrying. After O’Brien read aloud the offending tweet to him, the candidate replied:
Well, I didn’t quite understand even what you just read but, uh, obviously I didn’t send it, so I don’t even understand. I’m sorry I didn’t catch the whole message about Jon Huntsman. I haven’t talked about Jon Huntsman in a long time, so I don’t know what’s going on there.
The “snitty” message, O’Brien stressed, was sent out “under your name, under your Twitter handle.” More Paul stonewalling ensued, this time with a dismissal of the issue’s “importance.” “It just seems to be irrelevant to me,” he snarked.
Not. O’Brien was right to push hard on this question. Here’s a campaign that thrives on Twitter and it’s sending playground-level messages to another candidate over its medium of choice. That’s news.
Also news is that Paul, again, shows little concern or control over scribblings transmitted under his name. Too bad Paul didn’t seize this opportunity to highlight the progress he’s made on this front. Decades ago, such scribblings, in Ron Paul’s newsletters, demeaned entire classes of people, chiefly minorities and disadvantaged groups. In this case, the scribblings merely tweak a sole privileged white man who has failed to catch fire with Iowa voters. Hey, that’s an improvement, Paul could have argued.