Show: Situation Room
Host: Wolf Blitzer
Wolf Blitzer: We’re getting a clarification from our sister publication, TIME Magazine, and Joe Klein who earlier, here on CNN, said that he had heard that General McChrystal has volunteered to resign. The clarification from TIME Magazine; they just tweeted this on Twitter: “Clarification from Joe Klein: General McChrystal has offered to resign; he has not submitted his resignation.” In other words, he’s offering his resignation but not yet doing the paperwork. We’ll watch this. The president, meanwhile, you just heard him say in the cabinet room over at the White House that he wants to speak with General McChrystal tomorrow before deciding what happens next. He did say that General McChrystal showed bad judgment in some of the statements he and his advisors made to “Rolling Stone” magazine.
Let’s talk about this and more with Congressman Ron Paul, Republican from Texas. What do you think, congressman? Did he show in subordination more than just poor judgment? What do you think, should General McChrystal step down?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think insubordination is probably a subjective issue that the president has to decide himself. But no, I think that the president would be justified in putting him out. I don’t see how he will survive it. Everybody is talking and worried about his survival. You know, I worry a lot, but I worry about the survival of our troops over there getting killed. And I think this whole problem with McChrystal is the fact that the war is going so badly, and there are no signs of victory, no end in sight, and the people are dying, the money is going out the window. And I think this is just symbolism and we’re misdirecting it. I’d be much more energetic talking about this if we talked about the failure of the policy and why our men are dying in a war that has no end to it. That’s where our real problem is. And the McChrystal argument is just symbolic of that.
Wolf Blitzer: Yeah. If you read that article in “Rolling Stone” magazine, which I read, I don’t know if you read it, but it shows a very dire situation right now. Almost a quagmire, no victory in sight, and it’s about time U.S. troops get out.
Ron Paul: That’s what the problem is.
Wolf Blitzer: I know you’ve wanted U.S. troops to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq for a long time, but obviously that hasn’t happened yet in either case. Let’s talk a little bit about your colleague from Texas, Congressman Joe Barton; another Republican. He apologized to BP last week, later he retracted it, but it’s caused a big uproar and the Republican leadership really came down on him hard. What is your assessment?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t have a strong opinion, because I don’t know what went on. You know, how can we judge what’s happened in a private conversation? I’m waiting for a release of the discussion to know what really went on. But, you know, that bothers me also because of maybe picking of the words, what he called a shakedown. Well, what if he had said, “The president put pressure on BP to do this.”? then it would have been politically correct. You have to check with the political-correct police on how you word things on how you word things. If you mis-word things, you can get into big trouble. So I think it’s a lot of that. But, I am concerned about the whole issue because I think this is unprecedented.
Wolf Blitzer: But you want BP to pay up to all the folks that are losing their livelihoods; that 20 billion dollars escrow account that the White House put pressure, let’s say, on BP to come up with. That was a good idea, right?
Ron Paul: Well, I’m not sure about the process. I don’t think the process has, you know, you can defend that with the rule of law. That isn’t generally the way you do it. And this is unprecedented on how they did it. But BP had already started…
Wolf Blitzer: Unprecedented because the attorney general was at the meeting when they negotiated all that?
Ron Paul: I mean, by what authority do presidents make deals with big companies? I mean, that isn’t part of our law, that isn’t part of our constitution. I’m always worried about big business and big government in bed together. Here’s a company that is in bed with big government already, so I’m already suspect. You know, they’re champions of Cap and Trade, and they get our protection. They have a lot of oil in the Middle East, and our Navy and our troops are in the Middle East to protect our oil. And so they’re in bed with big government already.
So this is good PR for the executive branches, it’s good PR for BP, but it is not good PR for the process. BP had already started paying out claims and working this through. But to come up with this scheme, I don’t think it’s proper. But I think BP should pay 100 billion dollars if necessary. But I want them to do it right and I don’t want this partnership between big business and big government to accelerate. I don’t like that, I like it to be separate and I like to follow the rule of law.
Wolf Blitzer: Spoken as a true libertarian, as you are. I’m not surprised. Let me talk briefly, we only have a little time leftm, about your son Rand Paul, he’s an ophthalmologist; he’s an M.D. just like you. Is he ready for the pressure that’s being put on him as he runs as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky?
Ron Paul: Well, if they were all like you, Wolf, and reasonably fair, I think he’s very much ready. But when the demagogues get lose, none of us are ready. They can trap us and trick us. It’s a shame that politics is, “Are you ready for the entrapment by the media?” That’s what it is; it’s a game.
But you handle the media very well. I wonder if you think Rand Paul can do what you do.
Ron Paul: I think he’s doing better than I did when I was his age. You know, even though he’s mature and in his 40s, I came to the Congress approximately at that age, and I don’t feel like I could handle things as well as I can now. But I think things are tougher now, I think they’re meaner and nastier and they’re set up more and there’s [...]. It’s much different than just discussing an issue. I am fortunate, I think I’ve gained acceptance enough that interviewers like you and others have treated me rather well and have dealt with me with the issue. So I’m pleased with that. But I would say that he will learn, and I think he does a good job. I think his demeanor is rather good.
Wolf Blitzer: It’s going to be a fascinating race in Kentucky, we’ll watch it, but you’ll watch it a lot more closely, I’m sure. Congressman, thanks very much, I know you’re very proud of your son, as you should be.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Wolf.