WASHINGTON — Chart-topping pop star Kelly Clarkson has stirred up a political tempest on her Twitter feed after endorsing Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

"I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance," tweeted the 29-year-old "American Idol" winner (@kelly_clarkson) who, like 76-year-old congressman Paul, hails from Texas.

"If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he's got my vote," she added. "Too bad he probably won't."

Several fans responded by reminding Clarkson of Paul's social-conservative views, with some going so far as to brand the libertarian as a racist and homophobe -- and others tweeting he was not.

"I'm flabbergasted that an artist with such a huge gay fan base would publicly support Ron Paul," wrote Myranda Warden, or @my_warden, in one typical riposte. "Why, @kelly_clarkson, why?!"

"I am really sorry if I have offended anyone," answered Clarkson, whose first single off her recently-released fifth album "Stronger" is titled "Mr. Know It All."

"I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women's rights, men's rights, white/black/purple/orange rights," she added.

"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."

A CNN/Time/ORC poll released Wednesday put Paul in a close second place behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Iowa. On January 3 the heartland state casts the first-in-the-nation votes in the contest over which Republican will square off against President Barack Obama in November 2012.