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Piers Morgan: Tonight, the congressman who’s being called the intellectual godfather of the Tea Party, a man who came in second, but just barely, to Michele Bachmann in the Ames straw poll this weekend. Joining me now is Republican Ron Paul. Ron Paul, you’re the most un-talked about contender today after this weekend I can ever remember. You should be getting as many headlines as Michele Bachmann, you nearly beat her. Yet, oddly, the media seemed completely obsessed with her, and not obsessed with you. Why is that?
Ron Paul: I should be asking you, you’re part of the media, and it’s the media that picks and chooses, so I should be asking the media.
Piers Morgan: Well, I put you on here, I made you my favorite and put you on my show.
Ron Paul: So I’m looking for an explanation too. But my supporters are convinced that they are afraid of me, they don’t want my views out there, they’re too dangerous. We want freedom, and we’re challenging the status quo and we want to end the war, we want a gold standard. And these are views that the people just can’t handle, they can’t handle all this freedom, they want dependency, they want socialism and wellfarism. So I think they don’t like to hear our views. But I think we’ll make the best of it and we’ll do very well. I think that the internet still is alive and well, and programs like yours will still have me on.
Piers Morgan: We certainly will, because it’s a fascinating part of the preliminary stage, if you like, of the election battle. What do you think of Michele Bachmann? She clearly thinks that she has a chance now of becoming the nominee, what is your view?
Ron Paul: Well, she does, her name’s on the ballot, and she did very well in the straw poll. She does identify with some independent thinking people, she does not want to be seen as status quo and the establishment. I know her well and we’ve been friends, I just disagree with her views because I don’t think she’s that far from the status quo as I would like her to be, and I would like this country to be. So her views are quite different on personal civil liberties and different on foreign policy and therefore they will be different on personal liberty and spending habits, as well.
Piers Morgan: I mean, a lot of Democrats are putting it out today that Michele Bachmann and you are threats and should be taken seriously, you’re dangerous. That normally means coded language for, ‘they would love you both to do well, because it will rip the Republicans in half, and probably guarantee President Obama wins the next election’.
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know, I’m not too frightened about that. I think I do very well with the independents, and even your own station there, when you do the polling, I come out either first or second against Obama. So I think the Democrats fear me. When they try to pick who they want to run against, they say, “Well, we fear mostly John Huntsmen, that’s who we fear”. They never bring up the subject that I would slash into Obama’s civil libertarian viewpoints. He hasn’t really followed through on belief in personal liberties, and he does not support ending the wars, he expanded the wars. So the progressive base has really left Obama. So I think the establishment that doesn’t want the status quo challenged would be most opposed to me. And, quite frankly, the leadership in both parties are very supportive of the wars, they’re very supportive of the Federal Reserve, they’re very supportive of the entitlement system. So, therefore, both media and party wise, they would be very, very nervous about us getting the expression of support that we have gotten, and they want to squelch it if they can. So I don’t think it’s unusual, I’ve been used to this, this has been going on for a long time, this is nothing that’s actually new. Sometimes I’m very pleased with the progress we’re making, and when we can win a poll, essentially tied in this poll in Iowa, I think it shows great strength for our viewpoints and for our campaign.
Piers Morgan: Tell me this, I mean, you’re 75 years old now, you’ve served 12 terms in Congress, you’ve had 2 unsuccessful runs at the White House, and yet perversely, despite all that, you actually have arrived in a position now where your views are more and more in line, I would imagine, with many average Americans. They are fed up with Washington’s behavior, they can see that there is a need to cut spending dramatically, I would imagine most Americans are beginning to think that the troops should come out of Afghanistan and Iraq as well. This could be your time, couldn’t it, Ron? It might be your last chance.
Ron Paul: I would think we do have a very good chance, but I usually summarize this when I’m at the rallies where we have good turnouts, and I get a lot of applause. Freedom is popular, people like to be free, especially when they see the failure of government. That’s why so many people are coming our way. Even those who liked these government programs and depend on government realize we’re flat out broke. This is one of the reasons why we’re getting support on ending these wars. Even if they say, “Well, we need to be over there, we need to fill the vacuum, we’re afraid things are going to happen”, but they know we can’t afford it, we have to borrow the money to fight these wars. And they’re talking about starting new ones all the time, we can’t even keep up with all this. So this is very popular with the young people, especially. Freedom is a fantastic idea. When they see the failure of government, we become more popular, our views become more prevalent and we are more mainstream than ever before. And the most magnificent thing is they have understood exactly how we pay for this. We can’t tax enough, we can’t borrow enough, so more and more people are understanding the Federal Reserve has something to do with this. They say, “Well, you mean, they print this money? The money is not backed by anything?” They were shocked, and then when they find out a third of the 15 trillion dollars they pumped into the economy went to foreigners, some of that might even gone to the British Banks, for all we know. So no, people are upset because they don’t like to see the rich bailed out, the middle class shrunk, and the poor losing their houses. That’s what they’re fed up about, and the Austrian free market school of economics explains it, we predicted it would happen, and believe me, the people are waking up to that fact.
Piers Morgan: Let me put this to you, Ron, because you’re a charismatic guy, you did very well in this straw poll. It doesn’t mean an awful lot, but it’s an indicator that you have a popular vote today and you nearly won it. What I hear about you is, very experienced, charismatic, people like him, but the thing that holds you back is when you stray into extremity. They don’t like the fact you’re so completely opposed to any foreign aid, they don’t like the fact you want to legalize heroine. Many people don’t like your total opposition(?) of any tax increase, particularly when you have someone like Warren Buffet saying, “Common, hit the super rich harder”. People don’t like your entrenchedness(?) over abortion, for example, where you don’t believe even if someone is raped they should be allowed an abortion. Are you prepared, at this moment, when everyone’s wondering which way the Republicans are going to go, are you prepared on some of these more extreme lines you’ve taken to soften, to moderate, to, in short, make yourself more electable?
Ron Paul: Well, why should somebody soften their viewpoint on defending the rule of law and defend the constitution? That would be foolish. The extremist are in charge and have been in charge, especially for the last 40 years, since they’ve been allowed to print money at will, so that’s why we’ve extended ourselves overseas, that’s why we have runaway spending with our entitlement system, that’s why we have inflation, depression, recessions and all these things. That is so extreme. This year our entitlements and debt has obligated our people to 5 trillion dollars, and they think I’m extreme? I mean, this is weird. And they say “Oh no, we’ll just print up the money and everybody will be wealthy”. But unfortunately they gave out the money and it goes to the wealthy people, and the poor get poorer. That is weird, well, that is really bad; it’s bad economics, it’s bad morality, it doesn’t conform with our constitution, and the people know this. They’re really waking up to this. And most people come up to me and they say, “What you say is common sense”, it’s not like I’m spouting off some extreme position.
Piers Morgan: Ron, hang on a second.
Ron Paul: Yes?
Piers Morgan: I don’t think people are rushing up the streets of America saying, “Legalize heroine”, that’s common sense, are they?
Ron Paul: No, and in fairness to me, I’ve never used the word ‘heroine’ once in a campaign ever in 30 years. There was somebody in the media who said, “Oh no, we’re going to interpret what he said, this might mean he would allow the states to do such-and-such”. All I’m saying is people ought to have freedom of choice, just as you have freedom of choice in your first amendment rights, picking and choosing what you do and say on TV. I just think personal choices. I usually use the example of personal choices to say, “Why is it that the federal government comes down with a SWAT team to arrest people who drink raw milk?” You know, what has happened to this country? So I never use a drug as an example because I know how people demagogue it. But it is true, there was a time in our history not too long ago when there were no federal laws against marijuana, in 1937 and before that. So this is rather new, we’ve spent a trillion dollars on the war on drugs, and it hasn’t done one thing, except enhance the drug dealers. So this idea that you can take my philosophy – and I’m not accusing you of doing it, but others have – take my philosophy and say, “Oh, Ron Paul’s philosophy is he’s going to legalize heroine”. No, I want to legalize freedom. Pardon me?
Piers Morgan: If you’re such an antagonist for people’s choice and freedom of choice, why are you so impeccably opposed to same-sex marriage and to any form of abortion under any circumstances? That’s not supporting choice, is it?
Ron Paul: I think you’re mixed up, I’m against the marriage amendment and I believe people can do what they want. I don’t even want the government involved in marriage, anybody can do what they want and call it whatever they want. They shouldn’t force their will on other people. And on abortion, I just recognized, as a physician and scientist, that life does exist prior to birth. There’s a legal right to it, there’s a biological definition of it, and most people don’t think about it. If you say that the woman has a right to do what she wants with her body and what is in her body, that means that a 8 pound baby, a month before birth, can be destroyed and the doctor would be paid for it. There’s something awfully bizarre about a society that says, “Well, that’s okay because it’s the woman’s body”. And every argument for all abortion endorses the principle that you can take that life and abort it and kill it, and I had to witness this. It’s very, very disturbing. So, I think somebody has to speak for the weak and the small, and they do have legal rights. If you’re in a car accident and a woman’s pregnant and her baby dies, that is homicide, you’ve committed a very serious crime, you killed a life. So this whole thing that it’s simply the woman’s right to do what should wants with her own body, no, you have to deal with the fact: you have to decide is there a real life there, and there is a real life there. I’m liable, as a physician, if the woman comes in and she’s a week pregnant or 10 months pregnant or was 8, 9 months pregnant, if I do something wrong, rightfully so, I can be liable for injuring the fetus. So if I give her the wrong medication, I’m liable for this. To pretend that life doesn’t exist, that’s like putting blinders on. And I don’t talk a whole lot about it, but I’ve made the emphasis the other day, that if you truly care about liberty, you have to understand life, because how can I defend a woman’s, or any individual’s, right to lead their own life as they chose and even do dumb things and drink raw milk or whatever they want to do, and at the same time say “Life is not precious, and we can throw away a life even if it weighs 8 pounds because it’s within the woman’s body”. I believe in property rights, I believe that a baby in a crib deserves protection even though I honor property, and our houses are our castles. But nobody would say, “Oh, a woman, after the baby is born, can kill it”. And today we have all these abortions done, but if a young girl is in a desperate situation and she happens to deliver her baby and kills it, she’s arrested immediately. But if she would have done it a day before, there is no crime, and the doctor gets paid money. Even if you distance this all from the law and enforcement of the law, but morality. Our society has to decide whether that’s morally right or wrong in dealing with this. I have a high respect for life, therefore I have high respect for liberty, and it’s hard to separate the two.
Piers Morgan: Okay, Ron, you’ve made your point very forcefully, as always. We have lots of people watching who vehemently disagree with you, but that is the beauty of a democracy, and I appreciate you joining me.
Ron Paul: Thank you, good to be with you.