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Martha MacCallum: I’m Martha MacCallum, and good evening, everybody, in for Greta. Right now the second official Presidential contender says he is more seriously about it than ever.
Good to have you here this afternoon. Congratulations on your potential run. Why should folks take you more seriously this time? And why do you think this is your moment, as you have said?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, I’m pretty excited about what’s happening in the country, because I’ve been talking about the same things that I have recently for all my life in politics, for 30 or 40 years. But all of a sudden, there’s a lot more attention. And I noticed that with the last campaign, toward the end, especially when I was talking about economic policy, and the financial bubble and the housing bubble that was actually happening. And then it burst, and we gained some credibility. So, the whole ideas that are behind Free Market economics are now very, very popular. It has now become a popular thing to talk about—monetary policy, and how that creates the business cycle. And of course, there’s a lot of people in this country now that are tired of us being drained with our militarism around the world and these constant wars and so many casualties and sick people that we have.
Martha MacCallum: All right, you’ve touched on a lot of topics, and I want to get into a couple of those with you a little bit more specifically. When you look your ardent, very ardent group of supporters, and in some of the recent polls you fared fairly well against President Obama. But last time around, in 2008, you came in fifth in Iowa. You would have to have a much stronger finish in Iowa. How do you go beyond that ardent group of supporters that you have, the Libertarianists, this sort of very passionate group, and expand that to other Democrats who might consider you, Independents who might consider you?
Ron Paul: Well, we have to run a good campaign. We have to present our views. People have to understand it. And we also capitalize on the number of supporters that have actually signed up—and it was the fact that so many have signed up to be volunteers and spontaneously already sending money even before I declared. So, if you were compared to those people who put their names on the line four years ago when I entered it, it was in the terms of thousands. But now it’s in terms of maybe hundreds of thousands of people who have expressed interest. So it’s just that momentum that is building. But it still remains to be seen. We have to convince the American people, it’s in their best interests to change these issues—the economic issues and the foreign policy and all. And if that is the case, then I think we can be successful.
Martha MacCallum: Well, let’s talk about the hottest of foreign policy discussion of recent days. And that is the killing of Usama bin Laden. You have said that that operation was not necessary. I think a lot of families of the victims of 9/11 would take serious issue with that, sir.
Ron Paul: Well, then they need to understand what I’m saying. I think it was very necessary that we deal with the problem. As a matter of fact, I was very strong on the that issue, and I think very carefully that it should have been done 10 years ago, and maybe saved 5000 American lives and 40,000 severe injuries, because we did have him cornered in 2001 in Tora Bora, and we ignored it. And then we went off and fought another war that was unnecessary—
Martha MacCallum: Well, why do you say this operation was unnecessary?
Ron Paul: So, people who are concerned would be very happy with what I would have done and should have done, because that was the policy I endorsed.
Martha MacCallum: So why was this operation not necessary, in your words?
Ron Paul: Well, I think that it’s exactly what I said, which means that there were other ways to do it. Why take on another skirmish with Pakistan, which may lead to our invasion of Pakistan, because there’s nothing but chaos there. Let me finish. Pakistan’s been very helpful in the past in helping us capture these criminals and these violent people. And they did catch the people that were involved with the first bombing of the Towers. And they gave them to us and brought them back, and we tried them. I’m just saying that that are ways of doing it without creating more enemies. Today we’re bombing in Pakistan—
Martha MacCallum: Don’t you think, Mr. Paul, that if they would have been willing to help us, they would have done that beforehand? How can you say you would have done it differently?
Ron Paul: Well they have. They have.
Martha MacCallum: We’ve been trying to do this every which way possible, and we finally got an opportunity to do it. How can you say that that was not necessary?
Ron Paul: Well, we don’t know. We don’t have all the information. And they have helped us. We have evidence that they have helped us in the past. And who knows? They may well have done it again. But we don’t know all the details—you know, the details are always changing. So to be a strict analyst and say you know exactly what should have been done…. I suggested that it could have been done differently. What would have been wrong with talking to them? We have captured many others—Sheik Mohammed, the ring-leader there who did all the planning—we have him in jail, and we quiz him, and we get information from him. What would be so terrible? All the Nazi individuals who were responsible for the Holocaust, we didn’t just walk in and gun them down as soon as we found them. We captured them; we tried them; he hung them. And what is so terrible about that and talking to people. Now we know that all the Nazis were killed, because we captured them. Now there’s nothing more that raising questions. I wonder when bin Laden was killed. And was he really killed? And we ushered him off, and we don’t see this. So that’s the kind of uncertainties that I don’t like.
Martha MacCallum: I understand your point. I think it’s probably going to be a very interesting debate question, when that comes up, that you’re going to be presented with. So we’ll see how that plays out when you’re up against the other contenders here. Talking about the other contenders: Donald Trump. You’ve had a lot of verbal run-ins with him. He has said that he would not consider running—probably wouldn’t consider running as an independent, because he doesn’t want to hurt the Republican Party. How about you? What do you think about him? Would you consider a TEA Party or Libertarian or an Independent run in this race?
Ron Paul: No. I think our system here won’t permit it. We have a very biased system. It’s very undemocratic. The two parties are very close together. We should have other alternatives. We’re allowed to have them. But the rules are so biased, you can’t get on ballots, and you can’t in debates. So therefore, you’re excluded unless you’re a billionaire. And yet we go around the world saying that “we’re going spread our goodness and democracy.” We invade countries, demand elections, and then when the elections don’t come out like we like—like we want—then we won’t honor the election. So our system here is very biased, and I think—I encourage—everybody to do what they want on third parties, and encourage them. And maybe someday the rules will get better. But today it is very, very difficult to achieve any political victory.