Ron Paul says he is not racist, slams drug laws as unfair to blacks

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, answers a question during a Republican presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

Texas Rep. Ron Paul said Saturday he is not a racist and pointed to his beliefs about unequal prosecution of drug laws to prove it.

In a debate hosted by ABC News, Yahoo! and WMUR, Paul was asked about some controversial newsletters with racist remarks that he sent out under his name in the 1980s and 1990s. Paul said they are distraction from the real issues at hand, which are his record and beliefs regarding race in the United States.

Paul said that Martin Luther King is one his heroes for practicing "the libertarian principle of peaceful resistance and peaceful civil disobedience," and highlighted his understanding that the drug laws in the United States unfairly penalize African Americans.

"True racism in this country is in the judicial system," Paul said, "the percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites. And yet the blacks are arrested way disproportionately."

"They're prosecuted and imprisoned way disproportionately," he continued, "they get the death penalty way disproportionately. How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get, you know, execution?"

"If we truly want to be concerned about racism, you ought to look at a few of those issues and look at the drug laws, which are being so unfairly enforced," said Paul, who is known for his libertarian views on U.S. drug policy.

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