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Robin Meade: We’re going to find out what one strategy will be at least. The big match-up is just hours away, as Christine’s been saying. The first debate in the critical, early-voting State of New Hampshire, and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is trying to build on what he accomplished in 2008. His campaign took on a life of its own on the Web, surprised a lot of the pundits and experts. Joining us now from Texas, 2012 Presidential Candidate, Congressman Ron Paul, who will be participating in tonight’s New Hampshire debate. Congressman, great to have you with us, as always.
Ron Paul: Thank you very much. Good to be with you.
Robin Meade: I want to take a look at the latest CNN pole—actually it just released about 90 minutes ago. When we take a look at the field of GOP contenders, you come in 6th place, with just about 7% of the vote. And this is your third time running. What are you looking to do in tonight’s debate, to win over more voters?
Ron Paul: Well, sometimes I question some of these polls—but that’s a different story. But no, I don’t change strategy. I just keep doing the same thing, and it’s always been building. Certainly there was an explosion of interest in what I’ve been doing—for 30 years—four years ago in the last campaign. And it’s continued; the momentum has continued. So I think I just have to continue to do what I’m doing, and have been doing, because the country has finally wakened and found out that what we’ve been doing is wrong. And I’ve been warning people about the deficit, warning about the stupid foreign policy and the wars that we continue to fight, the silliness of printing money when we need it. And people are starting to wake up, and they’re saying, “Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.” And this is what I’ve been talking about for a long time. So I would say, I’m not adapting to the status quo as much as challenging the status quo, and the status q uo right now is moving in my direction, and it’s moving rapidly. So our campaign is pretty optimistic about what’s happening.
Robin Meade: Right, and you bring up the point, in a lot of ways it really should be your time, because these issues that you’ve talked about—and I remember interviewing you back in 2008 about cutting spending, cutting the debt, shrinking government—really are front and center now. Then again, there are some other views, like Isolationism, that could potentially keep you from being a mainstream Republican candidate. So do you really think that there’s a path to victory for you, even though some of your stances are a little bit controversial?
Ron Paul: Well, they certainly are tried to be made controversial by the media—who always wants to use the word “Isolationism,” because that is not what I’m talking about. And if anybody’s studying what I’m doing, will know that you can’t use that word. I talk about “non-intervention”; I’m a free-trader; I don’t want closed borders. And I just think that there’s a big difference between “not aggressively starting wars” vs. “Isolationism.” Isolationism is closing ourselves off from the world. And I want to take the advice of the Founders and follow the Constitution; that is, get along with other countries, promote trade and promote travel. That’s what we need to do. So it’s the last thing in the world from Isolationism. And besides, it’s very traditional; it’s very American, and it’s very—
Robin Meade: Okay, well let me ask you: If you’re taking—
Ron Paul: —Go ahead.
Robin Meade: No, I was just saying, if you’re taking issue with the term, let’s lose the term. Let’s just talk a little about some of the positions you’ve talked about: A pull-out from Afghanistan at a faster pace; Iraq; what about Libya, Yemen, some of these other countries where we are now involved in, whether it’s a major show of ground troops, no; but at least some sort of intervention, be it drones or Special Operations forces. What would be your stances on some of those?
Ron Paul: Well, what it’s been for a long time: Just come home and quit that. And the majority of the American People are saying that. They’re sick and tired of a 10-year war. And now that Bin Laden’s killed—especially now, just come home! I mean, the foolishness of going into Iraq, and now under U.N. Orders and no permission from the Congress going into Libya, starting another battle in Yemen, in Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan. We can’t afford it. The People know it, they’re sick and tired of it. So I don’t think this is strange at all. I think I am Mainstream America right now on this foreign policy.
Robin Meade: You also said that there’s no authority in the Constitution for FEMA. So after some of the disasters that we’ve seen this year, I mean technically the government wouldn’t be there to help people in their neediest hour.
Ron Paul: Yeah, well they don’t do a very good job. FEMA has a bad reputation. I live on the coast, and I’ve taken a very strong stand against the problems that FEMA causes. And believe me, we got tons of calls when the hurricanes hit, because FEMA gets in the way, and they take over; they’re very costly—FEMA and that whole concept of insuring people with other taxpayers’ money to go and deliberately build in dangerous places? I mean, it is so anti-economic to encourage people to do the things that the marketplace wouldn’t allow them to do. But just think of the recovery effort with the major hurricanes in the last several years. It doesn’t have a very good record, and no, it isn’t in the Constitution. When did we get into the insurance business? I mean, it’s not there. And since they do such a lousy job—
Robin Meade: How do you—I mean—Just a—Okay—
Ron Paul: Let me finish. FEMA’s also about $18 Billion in debt. So it’s not a very successful organization.
Robin Meade: Taking the challenges perhaps of the organization itself aside, could you see yourself as President Ron Paul standing there saying, “I’m so sorry that your entire town of, let’s say, Joplin, Missouri is wiped away, but the Federal Government really can’t do anything for you”?
Ron Paul: Well, I think from the law[?]—and I think that’s a little bit presumptuous, forming a question like that. No, we try to make things work. But the whole thing is, if they paid into—and as part of the system. But long term, and philosophically, it’s not a good idea. But so much of what we do in Washington is not a good idea, but you try to make it work the best you can. And maybe somebody like myself who’s a strict fiscal conservative might be able to manage some of these things a little bit better, until we decide that it is not the proper role of government. Now, it isn’t like this stuff, like, “Oh, well you’re not for the Welfare State, so you don’t care about poor people; you don’t care about medical care.” It’s such a challenge just to—that doesn’t make any sense.
Robin Meade: All right. Well, I now you’re gearing up for the debate tonight. It was great to get some of your thoughts this morning, Congressman Ron Paul, 2012 Presidential Candidate from Clute, Texas this morning. We’ll be watching you tonight, so thanks so much for joining us.
Ron Paul: Okay.