"American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson wandered into presidential politics with an endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul, then defended her candidate against accusations of racism and homophobia.
"I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last Republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he's got my vote. Too bad he probably won't," Clarkson tweeted of her fellow Texan late Wednesday.
She said of her political views: "I am a Republican but I actually voted Democrat last election."
Several of her followers accused Paul of racism and homophobia, citing articles in a newsletter he published from the 1970s until the mid-1990s. Paul has said he did not write the comments and does not agree with them.
Clarkson was apparently unaware of the controversy. "I love all people and could care less if you like men or women," she responded to one Twitter follower. "I have never heard that Ron Paul is a racist or homophobe?"
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Responding to others critical of her decision, she also posted several tweets that were a variation on this one: "Because you don't agree with me, I'm stupid. Very mature response."
Clarkson also elaborated on her views by saying: "I don't believe in the death penalty. Most Republicans do but not me."
With the Iowa caucuses just days away, Paul is the latest candidate to enjoy a sudden surge. He and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led in a CNN/Time poll released Wednesday.
Still up in the air? The crucial Gary Busey vote.