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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Paul ‘Stood with Reagan,’ But Not Long

Ron Paul highlights his ties to Ronald Reagan in a web video, but fails to mention he disavowed Reagan's policies in 1987 — citing them as a reason for resigning from the Republican party that year.

In a letter of resignation to the chairman of the Republican National Committee in the spring of 1987, Paul wrote that "Reagan and the Republican Party have given us skyrocketing deficits, massive monetary inflation, indiscriminate military spending, irrational and unconstitutional foreign policy, zooming foreign aid, the exaltation of international banking and the attack on our personal liberties and privacies." Paul ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 1988.

The Texas congressman, who returned to the GOP, and is now running a second time for its presidential nomination, recalls his early support for Reagan in the video.

The one-minute video — titled "Trust" — says Paul was one of only four members of Congress to support Reagan in 1976, when the Gipper ran against then-President Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination. It shows Reagan and Paul together smiling. Paul seeks to contrast his early support for Reagan with Texas Gov. Rick Perry's support for Al Gore in 1988. Perry was a Democrat at the time, but switched a year later to become a Republican. "Now," the ad says, "America must decide who to trust. Al Gore's Texas cheerleader or the one who stood with Reagan."

Paul didn't stand with Reagan for long. He says in his resignation letter that he became disillusioned with the party in Reagan's first year in office. Paul told the Christian Science Monitor in 1987 that it took about a month for him to realize that Reagan wouldn't be the conservative president that he had hoped for.

Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 29, 1987: ''A lot of people think we're doing great (economically), but it's all on borrowed money,'' says Paul. ''Ronald Reagan has given us a deficit 10 times greater than what we had with the Democrats.''

Paul, who has signed photos of Reagan and Vice-President George Bush in his office, says he was an early supporter of the President, but quickly became disillusioned. ''It didn't take me more than a month after 1981,'' he says, ''to realize there would be no changes.''

It wasn't just Reagan's domestic policies. Paul also opposed the president's foreign policies. For example, he attacked Reagan's decision to send U.S. troops to Honduras as "unconstitutional," calling the president "a bully boy in Central America" in a March 21, 1988, article by the Associated Press.

Paul told the Los Angeles Times in 1988, "I want to totally disassociate myself from the Reagan Administration."

Twenty years later, however, Paul once again associated himself with Reagan. As we wrote at that time, Paul used a Reagan quote and images in one of his TV ads in 2008 when he was running for the GOP presidential nomination. He has now come full circle, warning in his new web video that Perry "helped lead Al Gore's campaign to undo the Reagan Revolution" — the very revolution that Paul once disavowed.

Paul may have gone too far in describing Perry as a leader in Gore's 1988 campaign. Perry does not dispute that he endorsed Gore, but our friends at PolitiFact.com wrote that there's no evidence that Perry was a leader of his 1988 campaign. Tom Jurkovich, a Tennessee lawyer who served as Gore's Texas coordinator in 1988, told PolitiFact.com that Perry "wasn't highly involved in the campaign, however, and had zero operational responsibility."

— Eugene Kiely, with Scott Blackburn