Seven months ago I predicted:

If he gets into another tussle with a frontrunner or if the campaign actually starts gaining ground in some state polls, Paul's controversies won't stay obscure.

Now Paul's winning the fourth quarter GOP fundraising race and polling at spoiler level in the first four primary states, so, voila: The E-Z Smears begin! The Associated Press chases down the story of founder Don Black's donation to Paul, a story that had been reported elsewhere (including on this site) more than a month ago. Yesterday Paul was booked on Fox's Your World With Neil Cavuto for one of the most thuggish, ill-informed interviews conducted by a neckless man since MSNBC's Nachman stopped clogging news junkies' arteries back in ought-three. The segment began with Cavuto asking Paul what he thought of the leading candidates' Christmas-themed ad, noting "I can't see you doing these type of ads"-even though Paul actually did one nine days ago.

Then Cavuto pivots to the Black story:

CAVUTO: There are reports, sir, that your campaign has received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacist in West Palm Beach. And your campaign had indicated you have no intention to return it. What are you going to do with that?

PAUL: It is probably already spent. Why give it back to him and use it for bad purposes?

And I don't even know his name. I never heard of it. You know, when you get 57,000 donations a day, are we supposed to screen them and find out their beliefs? He sent the money for my beliefs. And if he promoting my viewpoints and my attitudes, why give it back to him if he has bad viewpoints?

And I don't endorse anything that he endorses or what anybody endorses. They come to me to endorse freedom and the Constitution and limited government. So, I see no purpose for me to start screening everybody that sends me money. I mean, it is impossible to do it. It is a ridiculous idea that I am supposed to screen these people.

CAVUTO: All right. So, Congressman, when you find out that it's this Don Black who made the donation, and who ran a site called Stormfront, White Pride Worldwide, now that you know it, now that you're familiar after the fact, you still would not return it?

PAUL: Well, if I spent his money and I took the money that maybe you might have sent to me and donate it back to him, that does not make any sense to me. Why should I give him money to promote his cause? That doesn't make any sense to me.

Frank James of the Baltimore Sun has an interesting take on this, on the implications of Paul taking money from anyone. Wonkette responds in the typically overwritten, mirthless style that's killing the site. (How does a DC gossip blog lose traffic in the year of Larry Craig?)

Like I said, I expected a Paul rise to kick up some negative coverage of the candidate. I'm just surprised said coverage is so rote and lazy*.

*"Lazy" refers to the lack of reporters at the presser, not Crowley's smart post