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News Anchor: Here to talk further about that rift is a man who’s had his own share of differences with Republican leadership, that is Texas Republican Congressman, former presidential candidate, Ron Paul. Dr. Paul, thanks for joining us. Let me start first with this: why are you the only Republican defending Michael Steel?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know exactly why there’d be just me, but I’m sure a lot of others that are very sympathetic. But I think it has to do with who the media goes to. They go to people who want to condemn him and stir up a fight and see if they can have a battle in the Republican Party. I think that that’s what is going on. But I think the better question is not whether there are three or four or five who have declared themselves leaders of the Republican Party, I just wonder how many grassroots Americans believe that an individual who blurted out the truth that he sort of backtracked on, should be kicked out of office because of that. The majority of America people agree with what he said. But this whole thing, and I think they distorted this event about what Chairman Steel said about this being Obama’s war. This is sort of like Nixon in 1968 saying, “This is Nixon’s war – the Vietnam war”, and he went on and managed to have a war and 30,000 more Americans were killed. So yes, yes. I think it is Obama’s war because he has called this the good war and he fought for more troops over there. And the war is going badly. We’ve had the worst month in June.
News Anchor: Alright, first of all, you have said this previously, you came out defending Michael Steel, so I’m curious, have you spoken with him or had any contact with him?
Ron Paul: No, no I haven’t. I just thought that he did not deserve to be punished through the media in the sense that, “Get out, we don’t want you, we don’t need you”. I think the party is doing reasonably well, we’re winning elections and we’re going to do well in November. … why should we change?
News Anchor: Hang on a second. Listen for a moment to what John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two very respected leaders in your party had to say over the weekend. This is not just the media, this is what McCain and Graham had to say. If we can play that sample:
John McCain: I think those statements are wildly inaccurate and there is no excuse for them. Chairman Steel sent me an email saying that his remarks were misconstrued. The fact is that I think that Mr. Steel is going to have to access as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and make an appropriate decision.
Lindsey Graham: It was an uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment.
News Anchor: So my question here is: does the Republican Party not brook dissent?
Ron: Does not look what?
News Anchor: Brook, does not accept dissent? Is there a reluctance to listen to dissenting points of view? Is that what you’re frustrated about?
Ron: Well, the whole thing is I think his statement was rather accurate. I mean, what he was saying, he was expressing the way millions of Americans feel frustrated that this war has gone on too long, it’s costs us too much money; hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of casualties, people coming back here, deaths are up to 5000 people of all the wars that we’ve been fighting over there. People are tired of the war and it’s going badly. I mean, we just fired our General, which means that things aren’t going well over there. But you can’t even continue the plan to go into Kandahar and Marja was a total failure, and they’re going to pretend they’re painting it over and they’re deceiving the American people just as they were deceived in the 1960s. I lived through that, I was in the Air force then, and I don’t think the American people want to be deceived anymore. So when the chairman of a party in a private conversation …
News Anchor: With respect, sir, the latest CNN polling shows 66% of Republicans favor the war in Afghanistan, favor it.
Ron Paul: Okay, but 66% of the Republicans can’t elect a president, you have to appeal to 66% of the Americans. And believe me, the biggest party in this country right now are the independents, and they’re sick of this war. And if the Republican Party wants to truly become the No. 1 party, they have to speak to the independents, which they’re not doing. And this is what they did in the 2008 election. They lost because of the Iraqi war and the foreign policy that they were managing. And you just can’t continue to do this. This country is broke spending a trillion dollars on our foreign policy.
Ron Paul: Sir, are you and Michael Steel speaking for a quite minority in your party? Do you think there is a growing minority in your party that opposes this war?
Ron Paul: Well, I think there is a growing number, but I think it’s close to the majority, but it’s the majority of American people. Think of all the progressive Democrats who have to put up with Obama. Why is it that it’s not good political talk for what Steel said? I mean, here Obama is trying to appeal to his base by saying, “Oh, we’re going to be out in a year”, at the same time he is appealing to the neo-cons who say, “We want more war.” He says, “I’ll take all the troops we can, because we’re going to win this war”. But the truth is the politicians and the military people do not believe there is a chance of a military victory. So our troops are being trained to fight wars that they are not allowed to fight wars, they’ve tired of themselves, and this is not a very good policy that we have. This is a war that is not really a war.
News Anchor: General Petraeus would disagree with you, and we will follow up with that after this break, please stay with us.
Late this afternoon Texas officials confirmed that tar balls found in Galveston County beaches this weekend are from the BP oil spill, even though the well is 400 miles offshore. Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul’s district includes Galveston. So, Dr. Paul, it’s day 77 of the oil spill. Tar balls today reportedly washed up in Galveston County, that’s your district. In your view, is the Obama administration doing enough to stop the oil spill?
Ron Paul: Well, no, not really. And I think they’ve done a lot to interfere. For instance, a lot of local official property owners and state officials have wanted to do more over in Louisiana and Mississippi. And the federal government – the fish and wildlife people and the EPA and others come in and they prohibit them from doing it. For instance, you know, one thing I would like that do is related to our previous subject, if all our states had their guard units back here, maybe they would have the manpower to do more to help clean up the beaches and prevent this oil from coming in. But no, our guard units are all round the world are fighting wars that we don’t need to fight. So I would say let’s fight this war here at home with our borders, as well as the oil coming on our shores. But, you know, I’ve lived on the beach down here for 18 years, I don’t personally a house there now, but I did. And every time we went to the beach we had to scrub our feet because we had tar balls. So even though they say this is come from the spill, well, I will wait and see just exactly where this has come from.
News Anchor: Let me turn to another member of your family who’s in the news these days. Rand Paul, your son, is running for Senate in Kentucky. He has been criticized by some national figures, including Senator Mitch McConnell, hwo while he didn’t overtly criticize him, at one point said he has done enough national media and maybe should keep it quiet for a while. Do you feel that your son has been given a bad rap by either the national media or the leaders of your party?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it’s just generally yes, he does some bad raps, but I guess I didn’t warn him enough and prepare him enough, that’s what this political stuff is all about. You can expect it, especially after you win a primary and beat the establishment, you can sort of expect something, and then expect it from both, not only your opponents in the party, but also your opponents from the other parties as well. So, yes. But really he needs to become a senator. He has a great chance of doing it, the polls show him ahead and he needs to be at home campaigning which he is so good at. I mean, he campaigned very, very hard in the primary, and he had the Tea Party Movement behind him. And his turnouts in the Tea Party were sometimes two and three and our times bigger than any Republican Party turnout.
News Anchor: Let me ask you about that because he’s vowed to the Tea Party faithful who were supporters of his that he would not hold fund raisers in Washington or take money from folks who voted for the big bailout, which is so unpopular among them. He was here, he held a fund raiser with some of these very same people. He’s been criticized for that. Is your son being unfaithful to his principles?
Ron Paul: Well, you’re just putting some words out there whether you’re right or not. Somebody else is going to have to determine it. But I know I’ve gone to two fund raisers for him in Washington and both were for the young people, and I think they paid $25 to come. We had a large turnout of young people, because that’s exactly the groups that are attracted to what I’ve been talking about. So I was very, very pleased. What he is doing with pack money … you know, I always says, you know, I don’t get any pack money, but I would take it because it’s under law. I’d take pack money. But I don’t get it because it’s not worth the investment. So it is perfectly legal for him to take pack money. And what he has done, you’ll have to ask him, don’t ask me about it, because I do not know the details of the campaign. I did him one big favor, I let him run his own campaign and I didn’t get involved in any details of what he was doing.
News Anchor: Alright, Dr. Paul, it is always a pleasure to talk to you, and we will do it again on this show, I’m certain, in the future. Thanks so much for joining us.
Ron Paul: Thank you.