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Interview with Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

Interview with Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

By John King, USA - December 20, 2011

KING: So, is Ron Paul the one?

The Texas congressman and presidential hopeful joins me today from Hampton, New Hampshire.

Congressman, it's good to see you.

Iowa votes two weeks from tonight. And the establishment here in Washington and the Republican establishment in Iowa has a case of the jitters right now. I was just in Iowa last week. There are some people who think you have the possibility to win that state. If not, they expect you to be very strong, in the top two or three.

I want you to listen to this editorial in "The Des Moines Register" just the other day: "The torpedoes are now in the water for Paul. And one of them is labeled a Paul win hurts the Iowa caucuses. I have heard similar worries from GOP leaders in Iowa, who fear that Paul's crazy train will haul the caucuses out to the political fringes and derail forever, stranding Iowa's coveted status."

Why are they so worried about you?

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: It's sort of entertaining. So much for democracy. As long as democracy goes their way, it's OK. But if you get enough support from the people, and you win an election, then it doesn't mean anything.

So I think they see me as a challenge for the status quo. There's a lot of people I challenge, everybody from the military industrial complex, to the banking system, to the bailouts, to our foreign policy. And it's a big deal because I want changes.

But that's what the American people want. The American people are with me, and that's why I believe I'm going up in the polls.

KING: We have had this conversation a few times during the campaign, and it is fair to say that you are less out there, if you will, this campaign than you were in the last campaign. And you get amused by this and watching it in the debates.

However, there's still a question of whether, even if you perform well in Iowa, even if you win Iowa, can you grow to the point of being the Republican nominee? I ask in the context of this. We had a new poll, national poll this week, and we asked Republican voters, who would you vote for under no circumstances? In other words, which Republican would you never support?

You, sir, topped that list -- 43 percent of Republicans said they could not support you under any circumstances.

Does that number suggest while you're growing in popularity, you can't grow enough to win the nomination?

PAUL: No, it doesn't mean that. And those aren't permanent numbers.

But you might say, what about the young people coming into voting now? How do I do? Exceptionally well. What about independents? Exceptionally well. What about the willingness of a Democrat to vote for me vs. the other ones? All of a sudden, there is the coalition.

What surprises me is, really, you know, parties are supposed to try to build, and the Republican Party would like to build so they don't have to fight for these elections all the time. So, I have young people, I have independents and a lot of Democrats who will come my way.

Why wouldn't they ask me a question and say, what is it they like about you, because we would like to build our party? But they never do. What they want to do is say I don't count and lock me out and say, oh, if you're elected, it's just a fluke. We don't want your people in our party. We have a close-knit party. And if there's these new, young, energetic people, if they come in, oh, that's bad for the party.

I don't really understand that. So, I don't understand their rhetoric about building the party and then saying, well, we don't want Ron Paul's people coming in, because they might take over the party.

Well, what if we have an influence? And what if we believe in liberty, and peace, and prosperity and sound money? What's so dangerous about that?

KING: Some of those young people -- I was struck by it when I was in Iowa last week -- it's a lot like it was for President Obama back in 2008. They support you, not necessarily the party. It's more personal than it is the party.

And a lot say of them, if you don't win the nomination, they would like you to run as an independent, as a third-party candidate. Would you rule that out, sir?

PAUL: Well, I have no intention of doing it, because I'm concentrating on doing very well in these early primaries.

So, I don't have plans to do that. It doesn't even cross my mind as planning to do that.

KING: But you don't say never?

PAUL: Well, I'm not an absolutist to say nothing, I will never do this, I will never do that.

When I left Congress a long time ago, I had no intentions of coming back. But if I would have said, I'm never coming back to this place, 15 years -- 12 years passed, and then I ran again. But I had no intention of coming back. So I don't think it's good to say I absolutely won't do anything. KING: If you look around the Internet, because you are now rising in the polls, you are being taken more seriously, not only by your rivals for the nomination, but a lot of things that have maybe come up in past campaigns, but are being regurgitated, just like they are for Speaker Gingrich, like they are for Governor Romney.

And some of them are some pretty provocative and outrageous statements that have shown up in newsletters under your name under the years. And one that has made its way around the Internet from the "Ron Paul Political Report" back in 1992 was this: "Order was only restored in Los Angeles when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks."

I know you have said this is not you, this is someone writing in your name. But I want to give you an opportunity, because this is making it on the rounds, how do these things appear under your name?

PAUL: Everybody knows I didn't write them. Everybody knows that is my nature. Everybody knows that is -- that is not my position.

It's 20-some years ago, and that's the best they can do? And they don't -- and they have to discredit me on that, rather than talking about the Federal Reserve and the foreign policy and the welfare and the debt?

No. It's something -- I was a publisher of a letter. And they appeared. They shouldn't have appeared. But, you know, it was just not me that wrote them. And I have disavowed them. So, you would think, after 20-some years -- but nobody's going to believe that stuff. People who know me know it can't possibly be true.

KING: Congressman Paul joining us tonight from New Hampshire, sir, appreciate your time.

PAUL: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. 

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