Ron Paul appeared on Fox News today to talk about his surprising victory at this year’s CPAC poll and how he decisively defeated front-runners Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. The Congressman also revealed whether he is thinking about a 2012 run for the presidency, and what steps we need to take to rein in out-of-control spending, return to sound monetary policies, end the welfare state and combat terrorism.
Channel: Fox News
News Anchor: … cast yesterday at the annual conservative conference, ranking the group’s to choices for the 2012 presidential candidates. Yes, we’re talking 2012 here. Ron Paul won with 31%, beating out front runners like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who received 22%, and former GOP vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Ending fourth was Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty.
Joining us now on the phone is Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, thank you very much for joining me once again.
Ron Paul: Thank you, nice to be with you.
News Anchor: I remember the last time we spoke, you were running for president. And here you are winning a straw poll.
Ron Paul: Yeah.
News Anchor: Since early signs pointed to Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin as the front runners in this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, did it come as any surprise to you that you won?
Ron Paul: I think so, because they are so much better known and they’re really interested in … Romney was spending a lot of money. I mean, I knew we had a lot of support, and I think it’s all spontaneously and grassroots because it’s coming from the college kids. I’m very much aware of this, and I spend a lot of time on college campuses. So it’s sort of a quiet campaign that we do; campaigning for liberty, that is. You know, we’re out there trying to get people to understand a slightly different version of conservatism and it’s across the board. So the college kids have responded very, very favorably. And that conference generally brings a lot of the young people there. And I think this year they have a bigger attendance than ever before. But I think a lot of the college kids came out and supported me. So I was very pleased and somewhat surprised.
News Anchor: You have a birthday coming up, right?
Ron Paul: A birthday?
News Anchor: Yeah.
Ron Paul: In August.
News Anchor: Okay, and how old are you going to be?
Ron Paul: I will be 75.
News Anchor: 75 years old, and you have such a young demographic that follows you. And that is very rare, you have to admit. You know, we have a president in office now who was very young, and that’s what helped get him into offices. He really did attract a lot of the American college students. He had a huge following among 25 year olds. What is it about you that attracts young people?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, when I talk to the crowded I point and I complement all of the young people being interested in personal liberty. But there are always some older people there, like myself. And I’ll say, “Yes, we must be young at heart”. And I think there is something to that, because the principle of liberty is a very young idea. We haven’t had freedom for the individual much more than a couple of hundred years. We’ve had this grand experiment and tremendous success. So if you look at the course of history, thousands of years it’s generally been big government, dictators, kings and tyrants. And we’ve only had this little introduction. But young people respond to this in a very favorable manner. They like to be left alone personally, when I talk about that a lot. And I think they like the information I give them on a conservative foreign policy where we at one time didn’t want to be the policeman of the world. We just defended our country, but we weren’t engaged in so many countries. They like that. And they like the idea of economic conservatism. But the young people are very much aware that they’re receiving the burden of this. And these deficits are frightening. So I think it’s a very young and new idea, and they have responded very favorably. I’m very pleased.
News Anchor: Let’s cut to the chase here – looking ahead to the 2012 presidential race. I have some people on Twitter, because they’re all watching you. A lot of young people on Twitter, as you know. Justin Lafferday writes and wants to know if you’re considering running for president again, and if so, what do you feel Americas needs changed to get back on track?
Ron Paul: Well, I’m not seriously thinking about 2012; that’s way off as far as I’m concerned. But I’m very confident that we do need some changes and we didn’t get the changes, of course, with this administration. I think the debt is going to do us all in. And that’s the reason for all this arguing, you know, whether it’s medical care or whatever, in Washington, is that nobody wants to admit that this country is bankrupt. Everybody wants something, but nobody is willing to cut. And I’ve taken the position you cut everything until you get your budget back in order. If we’re individuals and we go bankrupt, we have to spend less and work harder and pay down our debt. But a country, they will not admit it; both conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, do not want to believe that this country is bankrupt. And we’re putting all our pressure on the dollar. We think we can print money forever and get away with it. And a lot of people know that we can’t.
News Anchor: I only have about a minute left and I want to get to a couple more questions, so we can get through these quickly. DJT9000 writes, “How will you cut the size of government, and which programs should be scrapped, if you were to be president today?”
Ron Paul: We have to change the understanding of the role of government. We shouldn’t be in the welfare business, and we shouldn’t in the warfare business. So everything is up for grabs. Government should be very limited. And I would look to the Constitution. Follow the Constitution, and you’ll have all your answers.
News Anchor: TheRexReport on twitter asks for you to talk specifics of how you would deal with terrorism and viability of third parties?
Ron Paul: Well, terrorism is a vicious, vicious crime, and it has to be dealt with. And anytime somebody gets murdered, we always ask what the motivations are. If we don’t ever come around to understanding the motivations behind terrorism, we can’t solve the problem. And that has to do with our foreign policy. Occupation of foreign countries does contribute significantly to the anger to motivate somebody to commit suicide and do a terrorist act against us.
News Anchor: And finally HuskersBob writes to me and he wants to know, “What would you expect to come out of the healthcare summit with the president on the 25th?”
Ron Paul: Not a whole lot. But I predicted from the very beginning that there will be more government involvement in healthcare from the very beginning. He would never get his full package, and we are incrementalist and we are incrementally increasing the size of government, and the government involved in medical care. And I can predict with certainty that medical care in this country is not going to improve as long as we keep doing that.
News Anchor: all right. Congressman Ron Paul, thank you very much and congrats to you on your win.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much.
News Anchor: Alright, we’ll talk to you later.