As far as the racist background, the Ron Paul newsletters certainly have explicit racism (and sexism, and homophobia) in them (as opposed to implied racism, such as opposing the civil rights legislation of the 60s). Most Ron Paul fans argue that it was actually Lew Rockwell who wrote most of that, under Ron Paul's name, and Ron Paul never read or approved of them.
Take that for what it's worth--I personally suspect it's somewhere between "Ron Paul wrote all the virulently racist stuff in his newsletter" and "Ron Paul had no idea of anything going on in his newsletter."
Eh. Most, though not all, of those were published in the 80s. And it's shitty, but it was a long time ago. I'm honestly much more disconcerted by RP's shifty treatment of them without adequately apologizing and taking responsibility for them.
People f'up sometimes. A lot, even. If I'm willing to give Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton a break for Jew-bashing in the 80s and GWB a break for driving drunk and Romney a break for high school bullying, I can't see a reason not to give Ron Paul one too.
If, of course, he were willing to own up to making a mistake...
Yeah, except I don't give those people a break for such things. Anti-semitism is pretty crappy, no matter when it is; I know people who have been killed by drunk drivers; There are teenagers across the nation who kill themselves every year due to bullying. I don't see why I should give them a break at all for these things.