Ron Paul was interviewed on CNN’s American Morning today. He talks about Rush Limbaugh’s role in the Republican party, the CPAC straw poll, the Campaign for Liberty, the free market, the 2012 elections and other issues.
Show: American Morning
John Roberts: Radio host Rush Limbaugh firing up the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The GOP is in search of a leader and Limbaugh certainly rallied the base, so what is Limbaugh’s role in the Republican party right now?
Congressman Ron Paul joins us now, live on the phone. He’s in Lake Jackson, Texas. So, when you take a look at what happened at CPAC over the last few days, Congressman Paul, Rush Limbaugh appeared to be the big hit. Is he emerging as the leader of the Republican Party?
Ron Paul: Well, I think the Democrats would certainly like that. And he is a leader. He does say the right things now. And I think a lot of people like to hear what he’s saying, but I think it’s also a little bit polarizing and confrontational, and I think that’s why the Democrats are bragging that Limbaugh now speaks for the Republicans. So, I guess the Democrats think it’s to their advantage if he’s leading the charge.
John Roberts: Now, of course, he’s a very popular person. He’s a staunch Conservative. But what does it say that almost like the spokesperson for a political party is a radio talk show host, as opposed to it being one of the political leadership?
Ron Paul: I think it’s pretty sad. It’s a good point to make. And it means that the Republicans are really starving for some type of leadership. Now, and I think his message is good and does appeal to a lot when he criticizes some of the extravagance of the Obama’s administration. But he really doesn’t broaden the base. I mean, it’s still very narrow, and that is why some of us would like to see an approach that would emphasize personal liberties and civil liberties, looking at the drug war, and certainly looking at foreign policy.
In those areas, it’s really the old Republican Party, because even Limbaugh was a strong supporter of Bush. So, he doesn’t have anything new either when it comes to, you know, bringing our troops home and not expanding the war in Afghanistan, and talking about the danger to our personal liberties and our privacy. So, there is a group of us that would like to appeal somewhat differently to the Republican base and, as a matter of fact, to the American people. That’s what’s really important.
John Roberts: I was fascinated to see in terms of expanding the base that Ron Paul is bringing a lot of new young people in the door. Young Americans for Liberty is a new organization that’s cropped up around your Campaign for Liberty. It’s fascinating that a 72-year-old white guy from Texas is bringing a lot of young people. Also, this straw poll that took place over the weekend, you tied for third with Sarah Palin. Mitt Romney came in first for the third year in a row. Bobby Jindal came in second. What does that say about the 2012 election cycle? Are you going to gear up the Campaign for Liberty again?
Ron Paul: Well, the Campaign for Liberty has been geared up, and it’s going to continue to grow, so it’s going to be alive and well. And I think we will have a presence; exactly how that translates into my personal activity and all that remains to be seen. But the important thing is that somebody comes through with a philosophy that appeals to good, principled, liberal Democrats and progressives who like personal liberty, who don’t want to see perpetual war, and to appeal to people who believe in the free market. I mean, this is what we need. We’re in desperate shape financially. Worldwide, we’re bankrupting ourselves because we’re overextended.
So, there’s room for these views. So, I’m very excited the Campaign for Liberty is going to continue and to continue to grow, although it’s recognized that although we did well at that convention, still the base is locked into the old-fashioned conservative viewpoints which is, to me, very restrictive.
John Roberts: So, let me see if I can get you out early here. Will you run again in 2012?
Ron Paul: I don’t think so. I’m not planning that. It’s a long way off. I hardly can visualize what the country’s going to be like then at the rate we’re deteriorating financially. So, right now, I just plan to promote the cause.
John Roberts: Gotcha. Congressman Ron Paul, it’s always great to catch up with you. Thanks for joining us this morning.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much.
John Roberts: All right. Take care.