Show: Situation Room
Wolf Blitzer: … for joining us and the entire panel. I’m going to play the little clip of Lindsey Graham. He was in South Carolina, Congressman Paul. He was heckled by some of your supporters and this was the exchange. It’s hard to hear, but we got the words up on the screen as well.
Lindsey Graham: I am not going to leave the Republican Party. I’m going to grow it.
Male Speaker: Yeah, right.
Lindsey Graham: We’re not going to be the party of the angry white guys.
Male Speakers: Ron Paul will grow it. Ron Paul. Ron Paul will grow it. Ron Paul.
Lindsey Graham: We’re not going to be the Ron Paul party.
Wolf Blitzer: You got the gist of that, Congressman. He said he doesn’t want to be the party of the… “We’re not going to be the Ron Paul party,” was what he said at the very end. I wonder if you want to react to your colleague, Lindsey Graham.
Ron Paul: Well, my first reaction would be, what does he have against the Constitution? The supporters I have support me because I’m a traditional conservative and I defend the Constitution. I place every vote I cast depending on the Constitution.
Somebody should ask him what does he have against that and why does he vote for TARP funds and the bailout funds and cap and trade taxes and all the big government things. Why does he support Obama in expanding the war? Why does he support the PATRIOT Act? These are the things that Constitutional conservatives don’t support and we want to hold the Republicans to what the things they think they believe and they say they believe in. They claim they believe in limited government and that’s what we’re all about.
Wolf Blitzer: Congressman, I want everyone in the panel to weigh it in as well and ask you a question, but you don’t want your supporters out there to be heckling a senator like Lindsey Graham in the midst of his presentation, do you?
Ron Paul: No, I think it goes against the grain, but for him to turn that in and say that everybody who’s upset with the government and upset with his type of voting record are angry white people or white men, that is preposterous. That is a real insult. But let me tell you, if anybody comes to our rallies, and I can continue to hold them. We get thousands of people out. There are a lot of angry people there, but I tell you what, it’s very diverse. Anybody who wants to challenge me on that should come to our rallies, but to try to paint our group into that corner is just wrong. But you’re right, I think decorum is very important. I try to protect against that and urge not to participate in.
Corey Booker: Congressman, it’s Corey Booker here. Do you think you represent the Republican Party more than Lindsey Graham?
Ron Paul: Well, if you do a statistical vote today, probably not, but that isn’t necessarily the right question. The right question is, what should the Republican Party believe in? Should the Republican Party follow through on their promises in their platform of limited government and personal liberties, a strong national defense without perpetual war and without an unconstitutional Patriot Act.
Just because you get a majority vote doesn’t mean that you should give up on your rights and your Constitution, so I have no idea how it would come out. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll bet you the vote will come out a lot closer right now if you compare the supporters of Lindsey Graham to Ron Paul than it was two or three years ago because the Republican Party, they are angry and upset and they want changes and there is quite a few.
And one thing that nobody seems to pay attention to is that why should they run us off? We’re the ones who reached the college kids, the young people. How many Republicans really reach the teenagers and the college kids. Those are the people that are gathering at our rallies and you have to ask what are they going with the party with pandering to the old country club Republicans and acting like Democrats and bailout funds and TARP funds and these kinds of things just won’t hold up for the Republican Party. That’s why the Republican Party has been losing.
Candy Crowley: Congressman Paul.
Ron Paul: And we’re suggesting that they live up to what they profess to believe in.
Candy Crowley: Congressman Paul, it’s Candy Crowley. I think the larger issue here is, if you take the personalities out of it, that politics as you know is a lot about image and here we’re in a time when the economy is terrible and people are in real need. We are in two wars with American lives at stake and that requires the federal government to take some action and spend some money. Does it not look and has the Republican Party now, yourself and others, not become vulnerable to the imagery, the imagery at least, of the party of No, no money for this, not money for that, no money for that and how do you change that image?
Ron Paul: Well, we’d have to change your questioning. This idea that we are a party of no where we represent no… We represent free market and sound money. Take, for instance, our bill that we have pushed and I have introduced to audit the Fed to get to the bottom of this. This idea that you prefaced your question by saying the government, the Congress, has to do something, well, it’s because the government has been spending too much, borrowing too much, printing too much, interfering too much, regulating too much, so maybe the government ought to be doing a lot less. But I have every single Republican in the House of Representatives supporting my bill and there are 30 senators that are also supporting this bill and 125 Democrats in the House who support this bill. I would say that is doing something, getting to the heart of the matter. Trillions of dollars by the Fed being spent and there’s no audit there.
Arianna Huffington: Congressman.
Wolf Blitzer: Arianna. Hold your thoughts for a second. Arianna is going to come into this conversation in a moment. Congressman Paul, don’t go away. Kevin Madden is here as well. We’ll continue our conversation. We’re just getting started with Congressman Ron Paul and the best political team on television. We’ll be right back.
Arianna Huffington from huffingtonpost.com. Arianna, I want you to get into this conversation with Congressman Paul. This is your chance to ask him a question. You’ve heard his point and he makes some really passionate arguments.
Arriana Huffington: Yes, Congressman Paul, you mentioned the bill that you have co-sponsored with Congressman Alan Grayson, a liberal Democrat. Also, in Afghanistan, you are basically in agreement with another liberal Democrat, Senator Russ Feingold. So do you think that it is becoming obsolete to keep looking at American politics through this filter of right versus left when on so many critical issues there are many strange bedfellows these days?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think you’re absolutely right. I try to avoid it all the time. I sometimes resent it when they call me a right-winger or somebody else goes and calls somebody else a left-winger. I look at intervention or non-intervention as a general principle whether it’s overseas, in our personal lives, or in the economy. But the thing that should bring us together is our Constitution and the Constitution does. If you believe in the Constitution and follow it, lo and behold, you believe in civil liberties, you don’t want to run people’s lives, you don’t have the authority to police the world and run the world and you don’t have the authority to run the economy. So this to me is the rallying point and if we have disagreements, then we change the Constitution.
I work in the Congress just like I demonstrated with my bill to audit the Fed. Progressives and liberals and socialists and libertarians and conservatives all say, “Yes, we should have oversight. We should find out what they’re doing” and we can bring together… Freedom brings people together as long as we’re not judgmental and tell people how to run their lives or what their religious values ought to be and we certainly don’t need to be doing this around the world and right now, I really am disturbed by the support that the Republicans give to Obama’s war in Afghanistan. He wants to expand it and people like Lindsey Graham are urging him on to do more and more and we have no right to be there. We need to bring our troops home.
Wolf Blitzer: Congressman.
Ron Paul: We don’t need that kind of operation.
Wolf Blitzer: Congressman. Kevin Madden is a Republican strategist. He is here and he’d like to weigh in as well. Go ahead, Kevin.
Kevin Madden: Well, Congressman, as a party, we always flourish when we talk about what we are for and we talk about a more modernized agenda that we have for the American public. Don’t you think that we need to do more to talk about what unifies as a party and not talk about our limitations and what we disagree on in the party?
Ron Paul: Well, do you think you should maybe pass that message on over to Lindsey and say something about it because he hasn’t exactly welcomed us in. In some places, they do. They invite us in and I think you’re absolutely right and that’s why I’m such a strong defender of individual liberty and the Constitution because it isn’t a negative thing. It’s very, very positive and you find your answers, whether it’s monetary policy or foreign policy or domestic policy, and I just think that, that is an absolute good piece of advice that we should do. We should try to bring people together and discuss the issue and show what we’re for, and I am strongly for the principles I think the Republican Party have claimed they’re for, for freedom and individualism and free markets and sound money, no special interest and as Eisenhower said, “No military-industrial complex.” So I think these are the things that I’m for, strongly for, but the real principle that we have to be for is individual liberty.
Wolf Blitzer: Congressman, I know you got to go. You got other activities up on Capitol Hill. We’re going to let you go, but everyone else is staying because we have a lot more to discuss, especially, Congressman, you’ll be interested in this, the latest post on huffingtonpost.com by Arianna. What she wrote about the Vice-President today is fascinating material. It’s going to be a source of good discussion. Here, what has she written about? She has written about the Vice-President and she is suggesting perhaps this might be a good moment for him to think about resigning. Why? Why would the Vice-President, Joe Biden, want to resign? The best political team on television and Arianna Huffington, they’re here to dissect this high drama idea and Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele, is no stranger to criticism. This time he is apparently doing something about it. An update on what Sommer is calling, “A red, hot mess online.”