Show: Anderson Cooper 360°
Host: Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper: But first, the views of Congressman Ron Paul and his son, Rand Paul, who’s running for the Republican nomination to replace the retiring Kentucky senator, Jim Bunning. He’s running against the GOP establishment as a staunch conservative and proud Tea Party member. We spoke with him tonight along with his dad, Ron Paul.
Anderson Cooper: Congressman Paul, do you agree with Senator Evan Bayh who basically said yesterday that things are so polarized in Congress that the people’s business isn’t getting done?
Ron Paul: Well, the people’s business isn’t getting done, but I’m not so sure that we’re on the right tune about where the arguments are. I don’t think it’s because people don’t compromise enough, I think it’s because they compromise too much. And we don’t have enough people standing on principle. For instance, they compromise on the welfare state, they compromise on the warfare state, they compromise on endorsing the monetary system. So I think we have way too much compromise and we need to define what we believe in. We either believe in welfarism and socialism and big government, or we believe in liberty and limited government and the Constitution.
Anderson Cooper: Dr. Paul, do you agree with that, and if you do, isn’t compromise essential for actual governance?
Rand Paul: I don’t think it’s necessarily compromise that’s the problem. What I see when I go around the country and around the state to these tea parties is that people want, on both side, not to just be spending money wantonly like they are in Washington. I hear equal criticism. They’re worried about the debt, but they say it’s on both sides of the aisle; Republican and Democrat. We talked in my race about West Virginia paving every inch of it based on Senator Byrd’s seniority. We also talk about the fact that the Republicans from Alaska have been earmarking and paving a lot of things up there, too. So the problems the Tea Party Movement – we see it as on both sides of the aisle, but not a lack of compromise. Just sort of a lack of anyone standing up for the taxpayer.
Anderson Cooper: But Dr. Paul, the criticism, as you know, of the Tea Party Movement is that it’s one thing to argue something in order to get a candidate in or to protest. But to actually govern, requires a different set of … I mean, it requires compromise. You don’t believe that’s true?
Rand Paul: Well, I think the problem is we are compromising, but we compromise for more spending usually. For example, 32 states have a rule that says they have to balance their budget by law. I run on the platform that says federal government should be no different. And when I say that at a tea party, it brings down the house. They want their government to balance their budget. They see our future and our kids’ future being destroyed by debt. And that’s not Republican and Democrats compromising to spend half as much money. It’s that we need new rules. So I talk about term limits and I talk about balancing the budget by law. And that’s not necessarily a compromise. That’s pushing them all in a big direction towards much more frugality.
Anderson Cooper: Dr. Paul, you’ve been endorsed now by Sarah Palin. She’s also endorsed Senator John McCain in what could be a tough battle for his reelection. Is John McCain your kind of Republican?
Rand Paul: Well, I think there are some things that John McCain does that I like. I mean, he has been one of the Republicans who will vote against some of the procurements even in the military budget when he sees waste in the military budget. So he and I agree on a lot. But on everything? No, I didn’t agree with McCain/Feingold. In fact I liked seeing the Supreme Court overturn McCain/Feingold because I thought it restricted freedom of speech. So there won’t be everything we agree on. But there are some things that I can agree on with John McCain.
Anderson Cooper: I know you said Sarah Palin is biggest endorsement Republican can get right now. Do you think she’d make a good president, Dr?
Rand Paul: Well, I think what she has is something that you can’t buy. I mean, she has likability. She’s very likable and I think she will have to, like have to, like every other person, is run the gauntlet.
Anderson Cooper: The question, though, was do you think she would make a good president?
Rand Paul: Yeah, I think Sara Palin could be a great president. But I think what will happen is the vigorous process of the primaries. And, you know, she hasn’t said yet whether she’ll do it or not. But you know, she’s made some, I think, very astute and smart political moves. She’s come out in support of me, of course, which I think is a great move. But I think she’s supporting people who are running against the establishment. And this motivates those in the Tea Party who want not just someone to endorse whoever the party favorite is, but someone who will shake up the system.
Anderson Cooper: And Congressman, the Republican establishment in Kentucky has not really endorsed your son, has not gotten behind him. Why is that?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know. But the Republican establishment never endorsed me either. But after I won the primaries, I was quite willing to work with them and vote for their leadership and do whatever I needed to do to be part of the party. And Rand is in a similar situation like that. You know, they’re not running to bail him out and support him. Washington DC hasn’t rushed to help him. But in this day and age, that’s a badge of honor. Let me tell you, it really is.
Anderson Cooper: Congressman, do you guys agree on everything?
Ron Paul: Well, I doubt it. We have 5 children and I would say Rand is probably the one that challenged me the most.
Anderson Cooper: Can you envision a time when Senator Paul, if you become Senator Paul, and Congressman Paul are at odds?
Rand Paul: Possibly. When I was home at Thanksgiving the whole debate was whether they’re going to still let me sit at the main table this time because we’re having some disagreements. But in the end they did let me eat Thanksgiving at the main table. So, my dad and I … I like to use the words that I’m a constitutional conservative. My dad likes to call himself and has been called the Champion of the Constitution. And I think that’s where there is a great deal of similarity. There will be some differences of opinion because a lot of us support the Constitution, [but] we don’t always interpret it the same way.
Anderson Cooper: Congressman Ron Paul and Rand Paul, candidate for the U.S. Senate, thanks for your time tonight.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Rand Paul: Thank you.