News Anchor: Well, the candidates last night did not just focus on President Obama or the economy. Listen to this exchange when Rick Santorum and Congressman Ron Paul mixed it up over Iran.
Ron Paul: Here we are building up this case just like we did with Iraq; build up the war propaganda. There was no Al-Qaida in Iraq and they had nuclear weapons and we had to go in, I’m sure you supported that war as well. It’s time we quit this, it’s trillions of dollars we’re spending on these wars.
News Anchor: Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul joins us now. Congressman, I want to read you a quote from Charlie Cook, the noted author of the Cook Political Report. He writes about you in the National Journal today, “Perhaps only Ron Paul had no need to prove anything; he has always marched to the beat of his own drum and runs a campaign more about promoting his libertarian views than winning the White House.” How do you respond?
Ron Paul: Well, I think it’s a pretty good position because I think you should go for the person who has principles and believes in them. If you noticed last night, most of the other candidates were all challenged for their flip-flopping, and rightfully so, they should be challenged. But I was never given a question about flip-flopping because they know where I stand. But it is true, if you’re a philosophic candidate, it can be just philosophy. It just happens that the philosophy of this country is shifting, and it’s shifting in the direction of the constitution, limited government, a foreign policy that is different, balancing our budget, having sound money. So I would say it’s coming together, the philosophy is coming together with the political change. And we’ve talked about this even 4 years ago, it was coined as a revolution, and it is an intellectual revolution, and I’m proud to be very much a part of it.
News Anchor: Our viewers ask better questions than I do, so let me get right to some of them, talking about where you stand. Don Peterson in Hemet, California wants to know, “Where does Mr. Paul stand on Israel? He seems to have dodged the question everything he’s been asked.”
Ron Paul: I disagree with him, because I don’t. We should be friends with Israel, and I don’t think we do a very good job at it. But I don’t think giving money to our friends is the right thing to do. I’m against all foreign aid, and if we cut out all the foreign aid today we would cut out 7 times more foreign aid from the enemies of Israel. But I wouldn’t give foreign aid to Israel. I want Israel to have their own national sovereignty. I don’t want them to depend on us either for the money which socializes their economy and they’re in financial trouble as well, and I don’t want them to depend on us to tell them how to draw up their peace treaties or what to do with their borders. So yes, we should have friendship with them, we should trade with them, but total dependence on United States and on our money is a bad risk for them because we’re in bankruptcy. We’re not going to be there forever, we are going to come home and I think their dependency on us is very, very harmful to them.
News Anchor: This question comes from John in Amana, Iowa and it relates to that argument that you got into with Senator Santorum: “When Iran has a nuclear weapon,” he asks, “and attacks Israel with it, how will President Paul respond?”
Ron Paul: Well, Israel has 300 of them, so you think Iran is going to attack them with a weapon that they don’t have? And our own CIA says that there is no concrete evidence that they’re actually building on it. So we are going to turn the world upside down and attack Iran because someday they might have a nuclear weapon. And yet our leaders talked to the Chinese as well as the Soviets when they had thousands and thousands of nuclear weapons. I don’t think it makes any sense to take on Iran and fight them, and that’s essentially what some people want to do, they say that we have to have another war. Even Robert Gates after getting out of the position of Secretary of Defense is saying, “Anybody who thinks we need another war needs their head examined.” And that’s the way I feel about it. The Iranians are a third-world nation, they don’t have an army or a navy of any sort, they don’t have intercontinental ballistic missiles, and a country that has all that oil in their country and they can’t even produce enough gasoline and they have to depend on importing gasoline, and we’re supposed to build up war fever and go to war over this? I don’t think for a minute that if they got those weapons, they would dare think about attacking Israel. Israel would take care of them, especially if they had no restraints from us, they would take care of them in minutes; it’s not going to happen, it’s all war propaganda.
News Anchor: Alright, on that topic, a writer named “Political Tool” says, “Here’s a question for Ron Paul; does he really believe letting Iran develop a nuke is okay? His isolationist ideas are fantasy.” Your response?
Ron Paul: I’m not an isolationist, I’m a free-trader. The isolationist are the ones who won’t even trade with Cuba, and they’re the ones who want to put on sanctions, they want to isolate these countries and they always use sanctions. So I think that’s wrong, our founders advised us that we trade with people and be friends with as many as are willing to accept our friendship. And we’re doing the opposite, we get involved in these entangling alliances, we go to war under NATO and the United Nations. And, like I said, there are nuclear weapons all over place over there. If you’re an Iranian, I’m sure you would say, “Oh, it’s in our best interest, we ought to gain some respect because if we have a weapon, maybe they might not attack us.” But they’re surrounded by nuclear weapons; Israel, India, Pakistan, China, United States, Russia; they all have these nuclear weapons and they barely think about it. When they try to enrich for peaceful purposes, they get condemned for it. So yes, there’s a lot of bad people over there, there’s a lot of violent people around the world, but believe me, the Iranians don’t have a tradition of sending troops and invading countries 6000 miles from their shores and occupying another country. Matter of fact, they’re pretty respectful of their borders and the wars they got into in the 1980s was because we instigated the Iraqis to go into Iran. So I would say a good assessment of that would give you a better appreciation of their position.
News Anchor: Alright, Congressman, we have time for a couple more questions.