Tom Sullivan: [Thanks for joining us. Here’s what I have at the top of the stack. The 2012 presidential race is well underway, Republican candidates have wasted no time getting their message out. Congressman Ron Paul is among the Republican hopefuls making big headlines; this week he announced he will not seek re-election to Congress so he can focus on his presidential run. He’s also leading the charge to stop Congress from raising the debt ceiling, obviously going against the President and his own party leaders. And he also got into a spat with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, about whether gold is money. We all know Ron Paul is not a fan of the Fed, but with all of his populism and having one of the most recognizable names, does he really have a change of becoming president? Joining us now is Congressman Ron Paul.]
Congressman Paul, thanks for joining us. I want to find out first and foremost: so many people know you, your name recognition this time around is much better than it was 4 years ago. But I went to the Gallup poll and I saw your positive intensity score, sir. You are not up there with the positive intensity score. What’s going on? People know who you are this time, but why are you not getting a better reaction from the Republicans?
Ron Paul: Well, you have to be careful on reading the polls. The other day when they announced the results of the fund raising, of course, Mitt Romney was way up on top, and I was second. But when it was reported on TV, somehow or the other they just excluded my name. So all the polls have to be looked at carefully. The polls, of course, don’t put me at the top, but if you compare where we are today with where we were 4 years ago, it is amazing how much further the country has come around to being concerned about the economy and being concerned about personal liberties and TSA agents and being concerned about the spending overseas. The atmosphere has changed nationally, it has changed even on the House floor. So I think the debate is coming in my direction, no doubt.
Tom Sullivan: Well, I’ll give you one poll in which you came in No.1, that was in Texas. And I think the big mark there, of course, was the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. He’s not in, he’s flirting with it, but a lot of people are interested in him. But you beat him handily in his own backyard.
Ron Paul: Yea, and I was pleasantly surprised. If you had asked me before, I would have said, “Boy, it would be tough to beat a sitting governor”. You know, the economy is doing well in Texas. But he had a tough primary race before and there was a Tea Party type candidate in the race that did very well without money. So that tells you that there are some questions being raised about the Governor.
Tom Sullivan: Well, let’s talk about money, because it is the mother’s milk of politics. And you get your message out via interviews like this, but you have to buy ads somewhere down the road in order to get the people, especially in the early primary states, to get your message. A lot of people listen to those 30 second ads. So do you have enough money to run your campaign for a month, six months, for a year? What do you have?
Ron Paul: Well, if you ask me what the cash balance is right now, I don’t know exactly, but it is probably well over 2 million dollars. And we made a big order for radio ads out in Iowa right now. So we have started buying ads, but it seems like the last go around we didn’t even have to beg and plead or make phone calls; I’ve never made a personal phone call to ask for money. People get enthusiastic and they do send money. These money bombs that occurred where we raised a lot of money, are most of the times spontaneous and set up by people other than the campaign. So when the message gets out there that the campaign needs some money, most of the time it comes in. That’s important and it’s a challenge, but most important is for me to undertake the challenge of the status quo. So this is not just another politician running; I’m trying to really change things. I want the foreign policy changed, I want the Federal Reserve changed, and monetary policy changed, and I truly want to balance the budget. So we’re not just tinkering on the edges, we want some fundamental changes. So that is a bigger task. And I see my opposition being the opponents in the primary, and I lump them all together because I think they, more or less, to one degree or another, just defend the status quo because they haven’t taken the positions that I have on almost all the issues.
Tom Sullivan: And that was going to be my next question; which is, are you running against the other Republicans, or are you running against President Obama? Well, which one is it?
Ron Paul: Well, when you’re in the primary, you have to run against the opposition. But if they did some of that polling in the general population, it would be amazing how much better my ratings are, because some of the challenges I make … I’ve really challenged the Republicans because they haven’t been all that good on balanced budgets, and they certainly aren’t good at watching where they’re putting the troops around the world. But no, generally speaking, the progressives are people who don’t like war and they like civil liberties. The Democrats are looking for somebody they can trust that really believes in freedom; not only economic freedom, but freedom for everybody. So I think that’s where if you did some polling, my ratings go way up, so we’ll deal with that after we win the Republican primary.
Tom Sullivan: Well, I think you’re absolutely right about that. I mean, if you look at the polling about just Congress in general, it doesn’t matter. People just don’t trust the body, unfortunately.
Ron Paul: Right.
Tom Sullivan: It doesn’t matter who’s running the show. So let’s get into some of the policy issues. The president says that when he gets up in the morning, when he goes to bed at night, jobs is the number 1 thing on his mind. If so, whatever he’s thinking about isn’t working. So what do you suggest, how do you suggest we get more people [jobs], how do we get more people back to work in this country?
Ron Paul: Well, you have to look at it fundamentally, you can’t just say, “We need jobs, so we’re going to spend some money or subsidize somebody or what not”. You have to ask the question why do we have a recession. Because you can’t solve the problem if you don’t answer the question; we have recessions because we have financial bubbles. And we have financial bubbles because we have a distorted economy due to Federal Reserve policy expanding the money and lowering interest rates below market rates so that people do all this mal-investment and building up all this debt. So in order to get growth again, you have to liquidate the mistakes, get rid of the mal-investment and liquidate the debt. And everything we’ve done in these last 4 years, just as we did in the Depression, we did everything to prop it up. So I would say you have to understand how we got here, you have to understand the business cycle, you have to understand that we need a correction, and then you get economic growth again. You need the capital to come back and you need a strong currency to invite capital back into our country rather than chasing our businesses overseas and exporting our only real export; and that’s our dollars that we print, and they’re still taking them for some weird reason. So there’s a lot we can do, but you have to have a fundamental understanding of the business cycle, how we got here, and why you need a correction in order to get the growth back again.