Channel: Fox News
Jon Scott: No one has ever accused Texas Congressman Ron Paul of keeping quiet when it comes to issues that he cares about deeply. This weekend, the former 2008 presidential candidate earned cheers as well as boos at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, with unvarnished criticism of the president, the healthcare reform bill, and even some leaders within his own party. Some consider him a long shot in the 2012 presidential race. Congressman Paul, though, came within 1 vote of winning the event’s straw poll, coming in second right behind Mitt Romney.
Ron Paul joins us live from Texas right now via Skype. What does your second place finish in the SRLC straw poll say?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it means the Constitution is still alive, and hopefully well. I mean, people are wanting to hear what it would be like if we followed the Constitution in a very strict manner. So it’s very pleasing to me that we had a significant showing.
Jon Scott: Some say that both you and Mitt Romney, sort of stacked the deck at this Southern Republican Leadership Conference, the SRLC – I misphrased it earlier – by essentially giving discount tickets to your supporters. What do you say?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know all those details, because there are some organizations that do the inviting. I think that the young people that I talk to are rather enthusiastic. But I don’t have any direct knowledge of what they do and how they do it, but they do invite people. But I think everybody gets invited, and the supporters come out. I do know that my supporters, over the years, have been a very, very energetic and very determined. I’m never sure of our numbers, but I know about the determination. And when there is an event like this, they’re very interested in coming out.
Jon Scott: While you’re in Congress, you are intending, it’s my understanding, to introduce a bill to repeal healthcare reform?
Ron Paul: No, I’m going to narrow it down. I want to get rid of one item to concentrate on, because I think it’s the worst part. And that is the mandate saying that you don’t have a choice anymore. They’re driving everybody into the system. It’s sort of like I don’t like nationalized public education. And I think the option there is the private option where you can still homeschool and still go to a private school. But if you had a mandate that said, “No more, everybody has to be in public education”, that would be very bad. And that’s what they want to do in medicine.
So I want to key in on the one issue, to legalize freedom of choice, legalize the private option without taking on the whole mess that’s been created. You know, the problems that we have, repealing this one bill would be helpful. But how about all the bills all the way back to the 1950s? That’s when HEW was established. And then we had all the bills in the 1960s and even in the 1970s, even under Nixon they had managed care come in. So you have a lot of work to do in repealing.
So I want to concentrate on the principle that in a free society you have to at least allow people the freedom to opt out of a compulsory system that is imposed on you by government.
Jon Scott: Given all the blood, sweat and tears especially Democrats had to shed to try to get this thing passed – as you know, it barely passed – do you think you would actually get any Democrats to support that notion?
Ron Paul: I think it will be tough, because I think that the majority in the Congress, certainly all the Republicans, would support this position, and they’ll probably introduce bill which will broader. I think the narrow approach is more practical. And the big question would be those Democrats whose arms were twisted and voted for what have they heard back at home, and those Democrats who didn’t vote for it, whether they feel politically safe enough to go to this extent. You know, they sort of had to fight their leadership to be able to vote against it. But to come and look to repeal a certain segment of it, it might be difficult, but I still want to make the point that this is crucial that we get rid of that mandate to force everybody into the system.
Jon Scott: Ron Paul, Congressman of Texas. Congressman thank you.