From the Spin Room after last night's GOP "debate" in South Carolina, Byron York captures Ron Paul's reaction:
For a man who had just grabbed the spotlight in a nationally televised presidential debate, Ron Paul seemed a little, well, defensive. A few minutes after the debate ended here at the University of South Carolina, Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, ventured into the Spin Room to talk to reporters, only to find that they wanted to know whether he really blamed the United States for the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“Who did that?” Paul snapped. “Who blamed America?”
“Well, your critics felt that you did.” “No, I blamed bad policy over 50 years that leads to anti-Americanism,” Paul said. “That’s little bit different from saying ‘blame America.’ Don’t put those words in my mouth.”
“But the policies were bad American policies?”
“We’ve had an interventionist foreign policy for 50 years that has come back to haunt us,” Paul continued. “So that’s not ‘Blame America’ — that’s demagoguing, distorting issues…That’s deceitful to say those kinds of things.”
James Joyner at OTB has the best commentary I've seen on this issue in this post. I'm not surprised at Paul's reaction to the spin, and I think the "American Idol" format is in part responsible, even though this one flowed better than the last. If this were really a "debate," Paul's point should be debated, not dismissed.