Interview with Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

Interview with Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

By Piers Morgan Tonight - August 15, 2011

PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, the congressman who has been called the intellectual godfather of the Tea Party, a man who came in second but just barely to Michele Bachmann in the Ames straw poll this weekend.

Joining me now is Republican Ron Paul.

Ron Paul, you're the most un-talked about contender today after this weekend I can ever remember. You should be getting as many headlines as Michele Bachmann. You nearly beat her. Yet, ultimately, the media seem completely obsessed with her and not obsessed with you.

Why is that?

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I should be asking you. You're part of the media. It's the media that picks and chooses. I should ask the media.


MORGAN: I thought you are. I make you my favorite. I put you on my show.

PAUL: I'm looking for an explanation, too.

But, you know, my supporters are convinced they're afraid of me. They don't want my views out there. They're too dangerous.

They -- we want freedom, and we're challenging the status quo. We want to end the war. We want a gold standard.

And they are views that the people just can't handle. They can't handle all this freedom. They want dependency and socialism and welfarism.

So, I think they don't like to hear our views. But I think we'll make the best of it and we'll do very well. I think that the Internet is still alive and well. And programs like yours will still have me on.

MORGAN: Well, we certainly will because it's a fascinating part of the preliminary stage, if you like of the election battle.

What do you think of Michele Bachmann? She clearly thinks that she has a chance now of becoming the nominee. What is your view?

PAUL: Well, she does. Her name is on the ballot. She did very well in a straw poll. And she does identify with, you know, some independent-thinking people. She does not want to be seen as status quo and the establishment.

So, I know her well. And we've been friends. I just disagree with her views because I don't think she is that far from the status quo as I would like her to be. And I would like this country to be.

So her views are quite different on personal civil liberties and different on foreign policy. And therefore they will be different on personal liberty and spending habits as well.

MORGAN: I mean, a lot of Democrats are putting it about today that Michele Bachmann and you are threats and should be taken seriously. You're dangerous. That normally means a coded language for -- they would love you both to do well because it will rip the Republicans in half and probably guarantee President Obama wins the next election.

PAUL: Well, I don't know. I'm not too frightened about that. I think I do very well with the independents and, you know, even your own station there when you do polling, I come out either first or second against Obama.

So I think the Democrats fear me. You know, when they try to pick who they want to run against, when the Democrat picks, they said, well, we fear mostly Jon Huntsman. That's who we fear.

They never bring up the fact that I would slash into Obama's civil libertarian viewpoints. He doesn't really follow through on belief on personal liberties. He does not, you know, support ending the wars. He expanded the wars.

So, the progressive base has really left Obama. So I think the establishment that doesn't want the status quo challenged would be most opposed to me.

And, quite frankly, the leadership in both parties are very supportive of the wars, they're very supportive of the Federal Reserve. They're very supportive of the entitlement system.

So, therefore, both media and party-wise, they would be very, very nervous about us getting the expression of support that we have got. And they want to squelch it if they can.

So, I don't think it's unusual. I've been used to. This has been going on for a long time. This is nothing that is actually new.

Sometimes I am very pleased with the progress we're making, and when we can win a poll, essentially tied in this poll in Iowa, I think it shows great strength for our viewpoints and for our campaign.

MORGAN: I mean, tell me this. I mean, you're 75 years old now. You served 12 terms in Congress. You've had two unsuccessful runs at the White House.

And yet, perversely, despite all that, you actually have arrived at a position now where your views are more and more in line, I would imagine, with many average Americans. They are fed up with Washington behavior. They can see that there is a need to cut spending dramatically.

I would imagine most Americans would begin to think that the troops should come out of Afghanistan and Iraq as well.

This could be your time, couldn't it, Ron? It might be your last chance.

PAUL: I would -- I would think we do have a very good chance.

But I usually summarize this when I'm at the rallies where we have good turnouts. And I get a lot of applause. Freedom is popular. People like to be free -- especially when they see the failure of government.

That's why so many people are coming our way, even those who would like these government programs, that depend on governments, they realize we're flat-out broke. This is one of the reasons why we're getting support on ending these wars. Even if they say, well, we need to be over there, we need to fill the vacuum, we're afraid things are going to happen.

But they know we can't afford it. We have to borrow the money to fight these wars. And they're talking about starting new ones all the time. We can't keep up with this.

So, this is very popular with young people, especially. Freedom is a fantastic idea. When you see the failure of government, we become more popular. Our views become more prevalent, and we are more mainstream than ever before.

And the most magnificent thing is they have understood, you know, exactly how we pay for this. We don't -- we can't tax enough. We can't borrow enough.

So, more and more people are understanding the Federal Reserve has something to do with this. Oh, you mean they print this money? The money is not backed by anything? People are shocked.

And then when you find out a third of the $15 trillion they pumped into the economy went to foreigners, some might have even gone to the British banks for all we know, you know?

So, no, people are upset because they don't like to see the rich bailed out, the middle class shrunk and the poor losing their house. That's what they're fed up about.

And the Austrian free market school of economics explains it. We predicted it would happen. And believe me, the people are waking up to that fact. MORGAN: Let me put this to you, Ron, because you're a charismatic guy. You did very well in this straw poll. It doesn't mean an awful lot. But it's an indicator that you have a popular vote there. You nearly won it.

What I hear about you is: very experienced, charismatic, people like you. But the thing that holds you back is when you stray into extremity. You know, they don't like the fact you're so completely opposed to any foreign aid. They don't like the fact you want to legalize heroin.

Many people don't like your total intransigence over any tax increase, especially when you have someone like Warren Buffett saying, come on, hit the super rich harder.

People don't like your intransigence over abortion, for example, where you don't believe even if someone is rape that they should be allowed an abortion.

Are you prepared at this moment when everyone is wondering which way the Republicans are going to go -- are you prepared on some of these more extreme lines you have taken to soften, to moderate, to, in short, make yourself more electable?

PAUL: Well, why should somebody soften their viewpoint on defending the rule of law and defending the Constitution? That would be foolish.

I think extremists are in charge. They have been in charge especially for the last 40 years, since they've been allowed to print money at will. So, that's why we've extended ourselves overseas. That's why we have runaway spending with our entitlement system. That's why we the inflation, depression, recessions, all these things. That is so extreme.

This idea that you have, you know, a couple of trillion, this year, our entitlements and debt have obligated our people to $5 trillion. And they think I'm extreme? I mean, this is weird.

And oh, no, we'll just print up the money, you know, and everybody will be wealthy. But, unfortunately, they give out the money and it goes to the wealthy people. The poor get poorer. That is weird.

You know, well, it's really bad. It's bad economics. It's bad morality. It doesn't conform with our Constitution.

And the people know this. They're really waking up to this. And this seems to be -- most people come up to me and say, what you say is common sense. It's not like I'm spouting off some extreme position.

MORGAN: Hang on. Hang on. Ron, hang on a second.

PAUL: Yes?

MORGAN: I don't think people are rushing up to you on the streets of America saying legalize heroin. That's common sense, are they?

PAUL: No. And in fairness to me, I've never used the word "heroin" once in a campaign ever in 30 years. Though somebody in the media says, oh, no, we're going to interpret what he said. This might mean he would allow the states to do such and such.

All I'm saying is people want to have freedom of choice, just as you have freedom of choice in your First Amendment rights, picking and choosing what you do and say on TV. I just think personal choices.

I mean, I usually use the example of personal choices to say why is it that the federal government comes down with a SWAT team to arrest people who drink raw milk? You know, what has happened in this country?

So, I never use the drug as an example because I know how people demagogue it.

But it is true, you know, there was a time in our history a time not too long ago, there were no federal laws against marijuana in 1937 and before that. So, this is rather new. We have spent a $1 trillion on the war on drugs, and it hasn't done one thing except enhance the drug dealers.

So this idea you can take my philosophy -- and I'm not accusing you of doing it, but others have -- take my philosophy and say, oh, Ron Paul, his philosophy is he's going to legalize heroin. You know? That is a distortion.


PAUL: Pardon me?

MORGAN: If you're such a protagonist for people's choice and freedom of choice, why are you so implacably opposed to same-sex marriage and to any form of abortion under any circumstance? That's not supporting choice, it is?

PAUL: I think you're mixed up. I'm against the marriage amendment and I believe people can do what they want. I don't want the government involved in marriage. Anybody can do what they want and call it whatever they want. They shouldn't force their will on other people.

On abortion, I just recognition as a physician and scientist that life does exist prior to birth. There is a legal right to it and there is a biological definition of it. And most people don't think about it, that if you say the woman has a right to do what she wants with her body and what is in her body, that means that an eight-pound baby a month before birth can be destroyed and the doctor be paid for it.

There is something awfully bizarre about a society that says oh, that's OK because it's a woman's body. And every argument for all abortion endorses the principle that you can take that life and abort it and kill it. And I had to witness this. It's very, very disturbing.

So I think that somebody has to speak for the meek and the small. And they do have legal rights. If you're in a car accident and a woman's pregnant and her baby dies, you're -- this is homicide. You've committed a very serious crime. You killed a life.

So, this whole thing that is simple to woman's right to do what she wants with her own body -- no, you have to deal with the fact. You have to decide is there a real life there? And there is a real life there.

I'm liable as a physician. If a woman comes in and if she's a week pregnant or 10 months, pregnant, or was eight, nine months pregnant -- if I do something wrong, rightfully, so I can be liable for injuring the fetus. So, if I give her the wrong medication, I'm liable for this.

To pretend that life doesn't exist, that's like putting blinders on.

And I don't talk a whole lot about it. But I've made the emphasis the other day that if you truly care about liberty, you have to understand life because how can I defend a woman's or any individual's right to lead their own life as they choose and even do dumb things and drink raw milk or whatever they want to do, at the same time say that life is not precious?

And we can throw away a life even if it weighs eight pounds because it's within the woman's body.

I believe in property rights. I believe that a baby in a crib deserves protection, even though I honor property. And a house is our castle.

But nobody, nobody would say oh, a woman after the baby's born, we can kill it. And today, we have this -- all these abortions. But if a young girl is in a desperate situation and she happens to deliver her baby and kills it, she is arrested immediately. But if she had done it a day before, there was no crime and the doctor gets paid money.

That -- even if you divorce this all from the law and enforcement of law, but morality. Our society has to decide whether that's morally right or wrong in dealing with this.

I have high respect for life. Therefore I have high respect for liberty. And it's hard to separate the two.

MORGAN: Or, Ron, you've made your point very forcefully, as always. With lots of people watching who vehemently disagree with you. But that is the beauty of a democracy. And I appreciate you joining me.

PAUL: Thank you. Good to be with you. 

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