Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took heat on “Fox News Sunday” for claims made in his 1987 book “Freedom Under Siege” that AIDS patients victimize society and the sexually harassed share in some of the blame for their predicament.
Host Chris Wallace challenged the Texas congressman’s libertarian philosophy by asking about a passage in the book that says an individual suffering from AIDS “victimizes innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care.”
“I don’t know how you can change science,” Paul answered. “Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by sexual activity. That’s been known for some 400 or 500 years, how these diseases are spread. If a fault comes with people because of their personal behavior, and in a free society, people do dumb things, but it isn’t to be placed as a burden on other people, innocent people. Why should they have to pay for the consequences? That’s a sort of a nationalistic or socialistic attitude.”
Paul later clarified that AIDS patients should rely on the free market and private insurance to pay for their medical care rather than on the government.
With the Iowa caucuses looming on Tuesday, the Texas congressman’s top-tier status has led to attacks on his anti-war stances and writings associated with him.
The most recent Des Moines Register poll puts him second in the GOP field with 22 percent. Paul is just behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who received 24 percent.
Toward the end of December, Paul was distancing himself from a newsletter he published in the 1980s and 1990s that contained racially disturbing statements.
His 1987 book also suggested that the sexually harassed should quit their jobs, saying they shouldn’t escape some of the responsibility for the problem.
Paul said there shouldn’t be federal laws against the kinds of rude behavior often connected with sexual harassment.
“If it’s just because somebody told a joke and somebody got offended,” Paul said, “they don’t have a right to go to the federal government and have a policeman come in.”