Here’s a collection of videos of supporter-made videos documenting the Campaign for Liberty’s Liberty Forum that took place at CPAC on 2/27/2009.
Speakers: Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Judge Andrew Napolitano
Transcript of Ron Paul’s Speech:
Audience: Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Ron Paul!
Ron Paul: Thank you. Thank you.
Ron Paul: This is almost like a campaign rally. Well, thank you very much.
Audience: 2012! 2012! 2012! 2012!
Ron Paul: It’s really nice to be here, among friends. I do want to thank John and I want to express a lot of deep-felt appreciation for what he’s done in the Campaign for Liberty, and all his staff. I’m not going to mention here all his staff. But of course, the speakers we’ve had this evening. But the Campaign for Liberty is something that has been going on for a few months but somebody asked me when I got involved with the Campaign for Liberty, when it got started, and I said, “Well let me think. I think I got involved in 1974”, because that has been my campaign. I love medicine; did a lot of medicine, and would still do it again, but of course there was another love, and that was the understanding and the defense of liberty.
I feel very fortunate that I was able to do both: have a professional career as well as to get involved. But I want to tell you a secret, I never dreamed that we would get as much attention this past year or so as we got. And that has pleased me very, very much, because I sort of got to think that my role was to do what I had been doing: quietly speaking out for liberty and doing what I can in different ways, whether it was in 1974 one way, or 1988 another way, or 1996 another way. And that my job was to do my best to understand the issues, to understand the philosophy, but always do my very best to not only read the bills, but to vote the correct way.
I had the thought that the best that would come about would be that there would be a record and maybe some of you young folks would finally someday take a look at it and say, “You know, this fellow tried to do what was right and he voted the right way and maybe set an example.” But to my surprise something happened a year or so ago that it wasn’t really so much as that we came together. The spark had always been there, so many of you have heard that or knew about it, and it just gave us an opportunity. So, to me it was such a pleasure to actually go to a large crowd to a liberal university where I might bring up a subject of the monetary system and all of a sudden people started talking about ending the Fed.
Audience: End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed!
And the other secret I wanted to tell you about is that there is a plan to write a book, and I’m a slow writer. The first book I did on the foreign policy, if you say how long that takes, I’d say about 30 years. It was the speeches I did for 30 years. But so, I’m slow, and I had to get a hint what I should be, and I got the hint that the name of the book, guess what? End the Fed. So if the publisher doesn’t like it, we would get a new publisher. But the big surprise is that instead of being total ridiculed, early in the campaign we had to put up with a little bit of that, but my skin is thick. And it had to be because there were some audiences that I had, we didn’t have audience like this at the debates, believe me. On occasion, can you believe I got booed a couple of times? I felt so bad.
But to tell you what, people often ask me, they’ll say, “Don’t you get pretty discouraged and pessimistic and being in Washington and putting up with all this?”. And I said, “Not really, I just have low expectations”, so it didn’t bother me too much. But, you know, the few times it did happen, actually I thought things went rather favorably even though I might not have gotten as much time as some of the other candidates got. It seems like it was very necessary and very important because it was the beaking out of the message. Just to let people know that there was somebody talking about something very very serious. Talking about freedom, and talking about the constitution. So the debates were very very valuable to us all.
And I can remember one night rather clearly and it was in Miami, we had a debate and the subject of Cuba came up. And of course I took, you know, the position that to me sounded like a reasonable position. People talk about free trade and friendship and talking to people and I wasn’t anticipating that Cuba was about to invade us or anything, so I took the position of, “Why don’t we talk to them? Why don’t we just talk to Cubans, maybe we can communicate with them, maybe we can travel to Cuba”? You know, some radical idea like that.
But the response was not what you just gave me, the response was boos and hisses, and you know, another discouraging evening again. But I survived it. But the very next day we had a little luncheon, and it was supposed to be like a press conference and a few supporters came. Well, I’ll tell you what, we had a huge turnout and enthusiasm and many, many of them were Cuban-Americans. But they were from another generation. They were from the younger generation, and they loved it because they thought it was about time that we started talking with the Cubans.
And you know, so far I’m not all that encouraged with the new administration. I think they have some shortcomings when it comes to fiscal conservatism. And they will do their share of spending. And we should be very disappointed about the foreign policy. I mean this whole idea that we’re going to be out of Iraq and keep 50,000 troops there. 50,000 troops we’re gonna keep there, not close down any bases, have this very offensive embassy there. And we’re going to have 50,000 troops, but they’re not going to be combat troops. Does that mean they don’t have guns? Does that mean they’re bureaucrats? Does that mean they’re policemen? Or half of them army, or just what? Will it still be offensive to those who would like us to get out of that country? Will it look like there’s a puppet government still there? Will it be still an incentive for the Al-Qaeda to want to come and do damage and harm to us? This whole idea that there’s a new policy is ridiculous. The same way of course sending 17,000 troops to Afghanistan is no way to end a war.
But when it comes to Cuba, there is hope. I do work with a few good Democrats that have been working on this for a long time. We’ve had some votes, we can win some votes, even with the last administration. So keep our fingers crossed. This would be good. It would be good for Cuba, it would be good for us, and it would be a good example. I say when people challenge me, I say, “Well, you know, if we were able to talk to talk to Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War, we were able to China, and we trade with China, and now we trade with Vietnam… don’t you think we can at least talk to the Cubans and travel to Cuba and let them come here?”
(to be continued)