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Ron Paul, muffled by Fox, wows Jay Leno

Last week, Mike Huckabee gave up the last half-day of campaigning for the Iowa Republican caucus and flew to Burbank, Calif., to appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Next day, Huckabee won.

So tonight, the night before the big New Hampshire primary, Ron Paul tried to pull a Huckabee. He flew all the way across the country for his own second appearance with Jay. And Leno, now a developing political kingmaker, greeted him with a most sympathetic hearing. You can see it on your NBC stations in a couple of hours. Paul's supporters, who financed a new eight-state ad blitz for their man, will be very happy with tonight's program.

It's not easy for a 72-year-old, 10-term congressman from Texas, who once before ran for president on the Libertarian ticket, to get much media attention. He's been polling a long time in single digits. But then a couple of things happened. Paul's thousands of outspoken, fervent followers set a new one-day fundraising record and reaped almost $20 million for him in the fourth quarter, likely more than any other GOP candidate. Then last week Paul came in fifth in Iowa with 10%, a lot better than the 4% of Rudy Giuliani, who'd criticized Paul strongly in an early debate.

But the best thing that happened to Paul in recent days was that despite his $20 million and his 10% showing in New Hampshire polls, Fox News excluded Paul from its Sunday night Republican debate with the big five -- Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Huckabee, Mitt Romney and John McCain. So Paul gets 10% in Iowa and gets excluded, but Rudy gets 4% and sits on the left end of the Fox Box desk. Hmmm.

There was quite an uproar and the New Hampshire GOP withdrew its sponsorship of the debate. Paul supporters, mocking the network's "Fair and Balanced" motto, flooded Fox with protests, calls and e-mails and are organizing a boycott of Fox sponsors. Never one to miss an opportunity, NBC's Leno invited Paul to appear and explain.

Introducing his guest as "a long-shot maverick," Leno said, "I'm trying to figure out why Fox News chose not to put you on."

"You know," Paul replied, "we tried to find that out. But they didn't return our call."

"You seem like a gentleman," notes Leno. "You don't seem like that type. But it seems like you should be kicking somebody's ass right now." [Laughter] [Applause] "You're being extremely polite for something I think you got screwed over, quite, you know, ....

I mean, I might not necessarily agree with you, but I think, as an American, we like to see everybody get an equal shot."

Paul speculates that Fox "didn't want to hear the message. Maybe they're intimidated. Maybe they're frightened. Maybe they don't want to hear the truth. Who knows?"

Leno asks about Romney's slide in the polls and attacks by other GOP candidates. "I'm a little bit afraid that they might be doing that for religious reasons," says Paul. "And I don't like that. I disagree with Romney on some of the issues, and he's gone after me onstage, but that shouldn't be the reason that he doesn't do well."

Paul noted that "nobody's ever accused me" of saying different things to different crowds. "I say the same thing, no matter which ear it is and which crowd it is." Paul corrected Leno that he had not collected all that campaign money but that "we" had: his followers and their 1,400 meet-up groups nationwide.

Paul said after his earlier debate confrontation with Giuliani "when he was confused about what causes terrorism [Laughter] I sent him some books, And I said, 'Please read these books.' But so far it doesn't sound like he's read [them]. He hasn't done his homework." [Applause]

Paul, the only GOP candidate opposing the Iraq war, criticized the Bush administration. "The trillion dollars went to the war," Paul said. "It should be here taking care of our people here at home." [Applause] Paul also noted how all candidates now say they're for change but nothing changes. "To me," he added, "that means the only significant change we ought to have is get enough people in Washington that read the constitution, obey the constitution, do only the things that we're allowed to do." [Applause] To read the entire interview, click here.

Meanwhile, across the country in New York, Huckabee was trying to pull another Huckabee of his own on late-night television, this time on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

-- Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (210)

The comments to this entry are closed.

We should all boycott the fox network for hindering the democratic process. Paul is againnst the war and the fox network is owned by the military industrial complex, plain and simple.
Ron Paul is also the only one to address the real issues of our time, our huge deficits, over reaching military, and our falling dollar that is a huge inflation tax on top of what we already pay.

I just finished watching Leno's interview with Dr. Paul. I must say I am very impressed. I support the congressman and I've studied his positions extensively, yet this marks only my third opportunity to hear him speak on live television. The first and second were the St. Anselm debate and the ABC New Hampshire debate, both of which gave Dr. Paul very little time to educate his fellow candidates. The five other Republicans often resemble a mob or gang as they collectively hurl hurried talking points at the doctor. He never backs down, but his message is directly add odds with his opponents and clearly, to some extent, the news anchors and moderators as well. Thus, he is nearly silenced by the overwhelming majority opinion set against him.

At the New Hampshire debate I recall hearing applause twice. Once for Romney espousing a very simplified, and superficial abstraction of 'change', something you'll hear consistently from all candidates on both sides of the fence. The other for Ron Paul in reaction to his correctly identifying the United States government's key role in, many ways, inspiring violence against our nation in the middle east specifically, but also the impact of the Fed's arrogant foreign policies of nation-building and preemptive war on the lives of innocent people the world-over.

This short interview with Jay Leno granted Paul a broader platform to share his positions with the public sans the comic intervention of neo-conservatives with naive and often (I'm not afraid to say) ignorant ideas to address this nation's serious issues. He made very strong statements that carried more weight in this candid interview than have any of the prior debates.

The clock is ticking. As I write, the New Hampshire primary is less than six hours from now. I suspect a great many people will be very surprised tomorrow to discover a man from Texas, of whom they knew little or nothing, has pulled the carpet from under the party leaders and inspired the citizenry of New Hampshire to pledge their vote for a revolution and not just another 'change'.

Thanks once again for a fair article LA Times. It's more than we can say for Faux News. I actually would like to thank them for giving Ron Paul all this free publicity. I think they are finding out themselves what blowback is.

Hah, you know I've taken shots at you before for biasing negatively (mostly through poor use of context), but this was concise, contextual, and maybe just a little too good (I honestly think it's a bit positive--but I've only read it once, I'm probably just not used to it) Thank you very much for not going on about his rabid group of angry kids who get commands from HQ about who to spam next. Really thank you so much.

Thank you for this story.

Considering that "change" is the theme-word for this presidential run, I think it might just be Ron Paul's year! Yes, the Democratic and Republican Parties hold different social beliefs on issues (which I mostly find trivial--abortion, gay marriage), but it seems the higher you transcend in the ranks of these parties, the more similar their ideas/positions. In 2006, the Democrats where overwhelmingly elected into office to end the unpopular Iraq War.....not rubber-stamp any war funds requested by Bush. When will the petty game of politics end, when will things change? Ron Paul embodies change....a change back to constitutional representative DEMOCRACY!!! Let the R EVO_I UTION begin!

- Shawn Dawsey

It's about time main stream media talks about the FAUX SNOOZE censorship of OUR NEXT PRESIDENT, RON PAUL. Faux News "fair and balanced..." ha! How many of these other candidates seem sincere? McCaIN WILL STAY IN THE WAR FOR 100 YEARS, HE SAYS!?! cRAZY!

Help Elect Ron Paul. Join The rEVOLution today, and help us repair the damage that is being done to our country, our economy, and our families.

I said it before ... Fox gave Ron Paul Sour Grapes... but Ron Paul made Champagne out of them!

Thank you for this article. And Most especially, Thank you Jay Leno. Thank you for Giving a Great man some deserved respect and for the Fair time alloted him as Lead Guest.

Thank you Ron Paul. What a great show you made it! I am still laughing at his joke about the Mayor!

Cheers Everyone!

All these TAX and SPEND politicians are afraid that the game is up. They have been stealing and lying for to long and I think the change we need in Washington is the honesty of Ron Paul.

Great article! Was a GREAT show, too!
TEXAS LOVES YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excellent write-up, Mr. Malcolm. Paul's showing seemed like another round-tripper, and you caught the essence of it nicely.

Leno sure did get right to the quick, eh? When Paul mentioned suing Fox, them there were some fightin' words. (Whether he means it literally—well—I don't know; but it sure did fire this supporter up!)

Kick their total A's, Ron!

That's why they call it fixed news.

GO RON PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for a fair, accurate article on Dr. Paul. As you can see by some of the media coverage, it's hard to come by.



Thank you screenwriters strike!!!!! The timing couldn't be better. The late shows have no writers, no actors to interview. So... it gives Ron Paul a national audience with PLENTY of time to talk. Thank you, thank you screenwriters!!! You have done your part of the Ron Paul Revolution!!!!! America was able to hear truth, in whole, finally!!!!!

To Jay Leno God Bless you for doing the right thing, we as a nation are sorry for the crap you will endure for doing the the right thing!!!!!!!!!!

You are truly a gentlemen and a patriot. Unlike that like Sean Hannity.

Fair and balanced my ass!!








I am astounded over the power of the internet. I am a lifelong Libertarian and have seen numerous 'Paul's' run on issues only to be criminally blown out, including Dr. Paul himself! This disgrace was possible due to the Dems/Reps media monopoly and public apathy. The Internet has FINALLY offered a back door to force diversity of true ideas. Thanks Jay for taking note and all of us for taking note.
For new 'Libertarians', thank you for joining and remember that a Paul victory is vindication for countless other patriots squashed before the Web... the unseeable triumph of The Founding Fathers.

Plain and simple, Ron Paul stands for freedom. It's amazing to me that most of the voters think they are going to get any thing different but the standard washing status quo with the rest of the candidates.

Great show! Jay Leno's jokes appear almost better without the writers...

But the political scene cannot live without Ron Paul, Glad he was invited by Jay, RP is so true, so sharp, so experienced, and he won't flip-flop, he's the hero

I am a bit disapointed that RP did not talk about illegal immigration with Jay though, as millions of californians are really concerned about California's and America's future, and Ron Paul could have sent a sign of hope to our ailing state

Now lets get ready to see the slow descent of Obama hillary and other dems, and the slow rise of Ron Paul until election! GO RON!

Mit can't needs a lawyer to know what to say, Huck doesn't know how old the earth is,julie is a shifty thug,McNuggets wants to kill, kill, kill...Hillary wants to sign us up to china,Obama has no spirance, mr. Ed is a talking horse...and Paul wants freedom, peace, prosperity ...I'm so undecided...

Bill Clinton got 3% in Iowa and went on to 2 Terms,So all this of who is In and who Is Out is nonsense this is just the First votes,we have a Long Long way to go..........

Ron Paul is The Only Real Change the rest are the Same ol Same Oll

I am appalled at the idea that Fox excluded a presidential candidate that won over Guilliani. That is just wrong!!!! Fox has done themselves damage. Everyone deserves a fair chance. Ron Paul is a true Republican and many Americans are still fooled by the same old tactics that all politicians use. As time goes by, and this election continues, I am quickly changing my mind about who I am going to vote for. Ron Paul is not sugar coating what is wrong with the country or the Iraq war. He clearly sees what Bush and his Administration have done, and what the other candidates will continue to do. This war was pointless and so will a war with Iran. So vote for peace and a better economy, Vote RON PAUL.

With George Bush about to visit the Middle East what are we hearing from the candidates regarding policy towards israel.
One of Ron Paul's most interesting platforms is elimination of forign aid to Israel and many other countries.
Why does this topic never get discussed prior to elections yet after the election all the successful candidates will be falling over themselves to pledge allegiance to this other country.

RON PAUL isn't "pulling" (a huckabee) anything. He was INVITED to appear. awesome comments everyone. "THE IDEA OF LIBERTY IS ALIVE AND WELL, MUCH MORE SO THAN I EVER DREAMED.." -Ron Paul.

RON PAUL '08!!!!!

I'm not a big Ron Paul fan, but Jay Leno is right. I don't want the corporate media picking out who I should pick for president. The guy and his supporters have clearly earned their due. I sure as hell don't see anyone elses campaign having such a fervent mass of supporters like his PaulBots. I wish my guys crowd was this energized. I am amazed that Paul raised that much money and I had to read about it here. Who is sponsoring this guy? $20 million? That's some serious money.

Fox News is being shown for what they are and a serious media source is NOT what they are. I had to let them go a long time ago. That brings to mind Bill O'Rielly's little scuffle with Obama's people and the Secret Sevice guy over the weekend. What an idiot he is.

I'm going to give Paul another look, if Jay is giving him a chance, that's good enough for me to read up a little more on this guy. I've never considered a Repub before, but what the hell, these are strange days we are living in. He sounded pretty intelligent to me tonight, he's got some good ideas. Maybe I will, "Google Ron Paul".

It would have been even better had the LA Times been waiting for Dr. Paul outside of the Studio to ask Ron a few follow up questions before he got on the jet back to New Hampshire, I mean you have a press pass don't you Andrew. You had enough time and energy to write this article but no time and energy to drive over to Burbank to get the scope I mean you have spent enough time smearing the Congressman I would think you have something, anything to ask him in person I mean isn't that what journalism is???


In my opinion Fox TV News has losted its reputation as a fair and balanced news media, when it has rejected Ron Paul in the Fox News televised debate.

As Josie Wales would say....Fox News. You have just took the voters and people that firmly believe in the constitution ,on a "Missouri Boat Ride" ! Shame on you Fox Faces !.....You know that your rateings will definately go down the tubes on this decision to exclude Ron Paul .....

What Ya Say Now ??????

The LA Times just earned the highest honor by exposing and printing the truth about a candidate we are so fortunate to have in this Presidential race. Ron Paul is earnestly trying to save us from financial ruin as a nation. I applaud your integrity--so refreshing!! Thank you deeply for your honesty.

Excellent article, One that speaks the truth for once. Keep it up. And GO RON PAUL. He's the only person with enough intelligence to fix this mess we are in

Ron Paul is the only candidate whose views (i.e., following the Constitution (e.g., federalism, separation of powers, etc...) I wholeheartedly agree with, and he's the only politician currently holding federal office who I respect as a person. He actually seems to be a good person through and through.

That said, I think so highly of Ron Paul that I almost don't want him to succeed in his campaign. Imagine the hell he would have to go through from the media, the political class, and the "establishment" (i.e., big government) parties. Also, so many parasites would stand to lose government largess that Dr. Paul would almost certainly be assassinated. Dr. Paul is too good a person to deserve such a fate.

I'm pretty sure he said "no matter which year it is", not which ear. lol.

So sad that comedians now take charge in delivering news/explanations to our nation... Reminds me of the crash of The Roman Empire "Food and Entertainment!!!", while they are watching gladiators fight to death...

Most people don't even care that their loaf of bread now costs 4 dollars, their gas tank to fill-up soon-to-be a luxury, and that their fate has been pre-determined. They are asleep...

It's ok... Either way - Hillary will win... and than one day - it will hit them all like a Mack truck - but will be too late...

"Strong will lose their jobs, weak will lose their minds..."

Thank you Andrew and YAY Jay!

Ron Paul is the most pleasing, polite and pertinent candidate for President of these United States that was "conceived in liberty" and "shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

It's not too late for Ron in 08!

I've been a Fox viewer/listener for a long time. At first I found their commentary and the slant of their news refreshing.

There have been a few times I thought their commentators, particularly Sean Hannity, were using their platforms to manipulate their less informed listeners, but I still listened.

I believed Bill O'Reilly when he said he wasn't a Democrat or a Republican. That he was just a regular guy who cared about America. That he was really more of a Libertarian. At first I believed Bill when he said the LA Times was loosing circulation because they, you, were publishing liberal propaganda.

I get most of my news from the internet. I am aware that all print news media is loosing circulation to the internet, even the Wall Street Journal. The internet is becoming THE source of information for a majority of people.

I have a circuit of web sites I follow, not always because I agree politically with what they tell me, but because the sum of what they tell me helps me sort out the truth from the spin.

My current opinion of the Fox News Network and their commentators is this: what is important isn't so much what they do say, it is what they don't say. This is most apparent with Bill O'Rielly. Bill O'Rielly is one of the sharpest intellects out there. If he doesn't tell you the whole story, it is not an accident.

When Fox decided to exclude Ron Paul from their Sunday evening forum, two days before the New Hampshire primary, it was the ultimate example of not reporting what you don't want people to hear. I believe it was done with the intention of manipulating their audience and with the purpose of influencing the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.

There is only one thing more important than Ron Paul winning this election. And that is keeping the internet free from the control and manipulation of entities that currently control information in print, cable and airwaves.

(Well, we're glad to be on your news circuit. Thanks for reading.)

Join us in Vegas for Paul A Palooza 2008 (Jan 12-13). We are going to invite Jay Leno as a thank you for the wonderful show tonight.

I am 27 years old and never voted, never contributed to a politician, and never cared. It took the honestly, economics, foreign policy, and message of liberty of Ron Paul to wake me up. I have learned so much listening to him about all these issues. I also see how Ron Pauls supporters intelligently talk about the issues we as a nation should really be concerned about. I am sending Ron Paul another check as we speak. I doubt he will win the nomination becuse how slow the message is getting to people. But I hope Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich(dem) run for an independent party. We are going to need a lot of changes and it will help the vice-president is from another party(dem). Go Ron Paul(P) and Dennis Kucinich(VP)

"Paul corrected Leno that he had not collected all that campaign money but that "we" had: his followers and their 1,400 meet-up groups nationwide."

I watched Leno, but something about reading it here made me cry... Yes. This is the man we need as president. Dr.Paul, being ignored by media, is finally getting his message out... and he's so humble. It brings tears to my eyes.

Ron Paul '08

(Just pointing out the obvious: He's not being ignored here.)

This might be the first election in a long time where the people and not the media elect the president. GO RON GO!

I've read all these posts and it's so heartening to hear the passion and fire in the hearts of my fellow Americans!

Few of you may know this but, I would like to give credit to another brave and courageous American who was all alone fighting for Ron Paul before most of you even knew who he was! Alex Jones, from Austin, Texas. at

Please, send Alex an e-mail and thank that great and passionate patriot for getting Ron Paul noticed to begin with. If it weren't for Alex Jones screaming RON PAUL, RON PAUL, RON PAUL and then, trying to convince the humble Doctor to run and save our nation...who knows.

We all might be trying to put lip-stick on one of these pigs!


Nice.....reasonable journalisim.

I support Dr. Paul for many reasons.

One being health freedom.

The Codex is vile, and should never be implemented in the USA.

The powers at large are running scared when they here a man of conviction; who tells the truth and walks the talk.This is un-heard of in todays lying spin twisting polo-tics. Ron Paul is the only person who can save the United States. The others are selling it out they are bought and paid for by special interest groups "Neo-con and neo-commie" are one and they same, and people must now wake up to that......Ron Paul Ron Paul for President. The USA's only hope thats why they are blocking him and locking him out! Its up to the people to force this man into the public domain or face the hellish alternative.

The people must vote for this hope Ron Paul or face a nightmare that's very real.

Ron Paul is amazing. What an extraordinary man you have there. If you don't want him as president, we will gladly take hime here in South Africa. We need his moral values and integrity.
Bless the Paul!

Ron Paul's message of peace, freedom and prosperity through Constitutional government is great, but the shocking thing is that he is the only political leader saying these things. This is not rocket science. Have none of our politicians read the Constitution? Are they all ecconomic ignoramuses? The things Ron Paul advocates are very very elementary. All he is saying is let's follow the principles that made America great. Every eighth grader should know these principles, but our great leaders do not. Todays leaders want to follow the path of all of the totaliarians of the past thousand years. There should be people like Ron Paul in every elected office in America.

Thanks to the editor and writer of LA TIMES. Thanks for not attacking Ron Paul he is a man of great intergrity. Lets hope more fellow Americans open their eyes.

Outfoxed Twice- NOT

Ron Paul 2008

If Ron Paul is not elected, we are doomed by our own foolishness.
Didn't the extremists themselves say, that they could not attack our military might, but they would defeat us by attacking our economy. They seem to be winning the war at the moment.

This should help those who are now considering Ron Paul compare him to his fellow Republicans:

Giuliani, McCain and Romney promise to bust the budget

In the ABC debate held Saturday 1/5/08,

Giuliani said: “We should increase the size of our military…. [by] 25 - 30 percent… If I’m president I’ll do it immediately.”

McCain confirmed that he also wanted to drastically increase the size of the military.

And Romney echoed their desire for a much larger military.

All of this will cost a lot. How do they plan on paying for it?

How much will they raise taxes?
How much more money will they borrow?
How much more money will they create out of thin air?

Giuliani also said he would cut taxes & reduce the deficit.
McCain claims to be a 'fiscally responsible deficit hawk.'

But that's preposterous! Here's why:

Including all supplemental appropriations, FY2007/8 military expenditures are nearly $700 billion per year...

...and U.S. military spending is already higher than the rest of the world combined...

...driving us deeper in debt by more than a half-trillion dollars every year.

If Social Security and Medicare taxes & benefits are put in the famous mythical "lockbox," here's what it will take to stop this gusher of red ink: cut federal government expenditures by nearly 25%, or raise corporate & individual income taxes by almost 33%.

The truth is they can’t do any of this without making our financial problems a lot worse.
Any claim to the contrary, such as "growing our way out of this," is nothing but disingenuous spin.

Why do we need to spend even more to combat a few thousand radical jihadists, who have no conventional military? Why don’t we deal with terrorists in the way provided for in the constitution, as Ron Paul has advocated: Marque & Reprisal?

Ron Paul's campaign for president reminds me of Jesse Ventura's campaign for govenor here in Minnesota - the establishment was dumbfounded, and really had no idea of how to react - until it was too late....


Ron Paul has been qualified for years to be the chief CEO of this country. The American People are now just realizing how lucky we are that someone so smart would actually want that job. Paul is crispy smart, articulate, doesn't waffle, knows the problems of the Pharmacuetical Industrial Complex because he is a OB/GYN who has delivered over 4,000 babies into the world. He is a military veteran and also knows more about economics and money policy that that guy Bernake who was at a loss for words in debates with Paul. Ron also knows what needs to be done. We need to return to the Constitution, and quite wasting all this money supporting the Military-Industrial Complex. The warnings of President Eisenhower back in the 1950's about that have come true. It is time to change.

Morton Johnson
USMC veteran of Viet Nahm

Thank you for the article. As a RP supporter it is nice to see more balanced news regarding his candidacy.
Tim - Missouri

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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