Candy Crowley: We are back with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Congressman, let me turn to presidential politics here. This is your third time around, and I think a lot of people know that you engender great passion from your followers, you win a lot of those straw polls when Republicans come to me. You’ve proven that you can raise money, and yet there are a lot of people that say, “You know, interesting conversation, but doesn’t have much of a chance to win”. You’ve been around a long time, I know you know what the odds are. Why do you run?
Ron Paul: Well, I’m not so sure I do know what the odds are, because I never thought I could ever get elected to Congress. I thought if I vote the way I believe, I’ll never get re-elected. So, you know, you never know what can happen. And I know what the odds are. But the one thing that is very encouraging is that I see a fantastic movement at the grassroots. You hear from supporters, but the whole country is moving. The attitude towards the endless undeclared silly wars that we fight that are bankrupting us, the silliness of the Federal Reserve printing money when we need so-called “wealth”, the deficits that are uncontrolled. So mainstream is now thinking about these things. Before, mainstream was, “Deficits don’t matter, print money when you need it, endless wars, personal privacy didn’t mean anything.” But believe me, mainstream is moving in the direction that I have been talking about for a long time, and therefore, nobody knows what the outcome will be in this election. During the last campaign I knew what was happening, they mocked me for my foreign policy and they laughed at my monetary policy. No more, no more from the people coming over here. So I would say, whatever happens, it’s going to be good because the people have woken up.
Candy Crowley: I’m going to ask you to size up the Republican race for me a little bit. What do you think about Sarah Palin?
Ron Paul: Oh, I’m not much into sizing up anybody. I can size them up as a group. I think so far most of them represent the status quo. I think they’re shifting a little bit because of the political pressure. But who’s saying bring all the troops home? Who’s saying that we need sound money and we ought to believe in the constitution? Who wants to get rid of the Patriot Act, who believes in property rights? You know, they’re going to modify their position, but they represent the status quo, and this is what excites so many people and now they’re sick of the status quo.
Candy Crowley: Let me try and put it to you this way. In 2008, you did not endorse your Republican Party’s ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin, but you endorsed 4 others who were running under various platforms. Looking at this Republican field right now, is there any one in it that you can already say, “This person is on the ticket. There’s no way Ron Paul will support him or her?”
Ron Paul: Well, if you asked me to promise that I would vote whoever the candidate is, no, I wouldn’t do it because my supporters would not understand it because they want a change. If they represent the status quo and nothing I believe in … but who knows how things may evolve. So it depends on the candidate, if they’re starting to say, “We need sound money, we need balanced budgets, we need to cut, we need to bring our troops home, we need to de-regulate this economy and we need to believe in personal freedom”, I would give it serious consideration if they’re serious on those matters.
Ron Paul: So you could see Mitt Romney’s platform developing into something that you could support?
Ron Paul: I don’t know. I don’t know, I’ll have to have a conversation with him. Maybe hopefully, I have always have high hopes.
Candy Crowley: You’re quite the optimist. And finally, do you think, because I think that to assume that they can sign on to a lot of the things that you’re talking about, Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin or others who are in the race, is a little farfetched. Do you think there’s ever a time that you would say, “You know what, thanks Republican Party, but it’s time for a third party bid?”
Ron Paul: Well, you know, I did that one time in a third party, and we don’t have democracy in this country. It’s so biased. If you’re in a third party, I can’t get into debates as a third party candidate. When I did this as a third party, I spent over half my money just trying to get on the ballots. So we don’t have a good democratic process. What happens if you come to the conclusion, as millions of Americans have, that parties aren’t different, they’re all the same. The monetary policy stays the same, the welfare system stays the same, the foreign policy stays the same. They get pretty disgusted, so there is but one party, so people who want to participate, they more of less have to get into one of the major parties. A lot of our people have gotten into the Republican Party, and I’ve already noticed the difference in the appearance of the Republican Party, and they say, “Why didn’t you come and talk to the Republican Party?” And I say, “Well, you know, they didn’t invite me before” So I went, and they’re very friendly. Some of the old timers are there, but they’re twice the size they are, because all our people come and they’re part of the Republican Party. So there is a transition going on right now.
Candy Crowley: So you see change in the Republican Party rather than a third party?
Ron Paul: I think that’s what many of the supporters I have have opted for, and they see that I have worked in the Republican Party. But that doesn’t mean we join them, we get in the Republican Party and hopefully using that as a vehicle to bring about the positive, peaceful changes that we want.