The endorsement was innocent enough. I love Ron Paul, singer Kelly Clarkson tweeted on Wednesday. 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.

But it was enough to trigger a flood of vitriolic responses from the American Idol winner's Twitter followers:

My_warden: I'm flabbergasted that an artist with such a huge gay fan base would publicly support Ron Paul. Why, @kelly_clarkson, why?!

Judeinlondon: There's going to be a white gay funeral for @kelly_clarkson's career tomorrow, cause lbr, none of us ethnics were really here for her

LoveUMore: @kelly_clarkson oh my god I've never been more disapointed I thought you were smarter wow #unfollow

Cibuloid: @kelly_clarkson Now THAT is how you get someone to unfollow you on Twitter...and in your career. Good luck -- you'll need it.

Clarkson, clearly annoyed, responded to several tweets with variations of the same line: Because you don't agree with me, I'm stupid. Very mature response.

This is demeaning & rude, please don't waste any more of your time and don't follow me if you are going to continue like this, she tweeted in response to another critic.

Man, seriously such hate coming from your tweets. This isn't a healthy way to be heard. Say what you'd like without the hate, she tweeted a few minutes later.

In response to several followers who accused her of being racist and homophobic, she said she had never heard any bigoted comments from Ron Paul, who has faced a barrage of criticism for racist and anti-Semitic passages in old newsletters that bore his name. (He maintains that he did not write and was unaware of those passages.)

Clarkson added that, while she is a Republican, she voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent, she tweeted. I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women's rights, men's rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he's my favorite.

When the abusive tweets continued, she tweeted again: Man my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y'all ever disagree with something I say please don't feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect. Being hateful is not a healthy way to get people to see or hear you. I was raised to respect people and their decisions and beliefs and I hope you will grant me the same decency. If you don't agree with me simply unfollow me. It's really that easy. I hope you don't because I would love the chance to hear what you have to say but if you're so blinded by hate you can't seek peace and progress then that is your unfortunate prerogative.