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Former Paul aide offers odd defense of ex-boss's tolerance

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A former top aide to Rep. Ron Paul defended the Republican presidential candidate Monday in the conservative blogosphere against charges of homophobia and anti-Semitism, though in a way that did not make Mr. Paul look good.

The Paul campaign immediately denounced the charge as the work of a “disgruntled” ex-staffer, though it did not address the truth or falsity of the claims.

According to Eric Dondero, who was Mr. Paul’s senior congressional aide from 1997 to 2003 and worked on some earlier Paul campaigns, the Texas congressman is not anti-Jewish or anti-gay — he just supports Israel’s abolition and won’t use a gay man’s bathroom.

“Is Ron Paul an Anti-Semite? Absolutely No,” Mr. Dondero said, before adding that Mr. Paul “wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.”

In a lengthy, detailed statement posted at Right Wing News, Mr. Dondero also recounted his boss yelling while berating a group of Jewish Young Republicans over their support for Israel, prompting several members of the group to walk out.

Gary Howard, the Paul presidential campaign’s national press secretary, denounced Mr. Dondero as not a credible source. Mr. Dondero also ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Paul in 2008 for his former boss’s seat.

“Eric Dondero is a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues, and is now trying to grab some attention for himself,” the spokesman said in an email.

Mr. Dondero cited two other incidents that, while he insisted his former boss is not anti-gay, seemed to suggest otherwise. In one, he refused to shake the hand of an openly gay supporter at a barbecue, and the other incident involved using the home/office of San Francisco libertarian Jim Peron, who is openly gay, as a base for a 1988 Bay Area campaign swing.

“Ron pulled me aside the first time we went there, and specifically instructed me to find an excuse to excuse him to a local fast food restaurant so that he could use the bathroom. He told me very clearly, that although he liked Jim, he did not wish to use his bathroom facilities. I chided him a bit, but … Ron looked at me directly, and with a very angry look in his eye, and shouted under his breath: ‘Just do what I say NOW,’” Mr. Dondero wrote.

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