Alan Colmes: I’m Alan Colmes. Ron Paul won 4,671 votes at the Iowa Straw Poll, putting him a close second behind Michele Bachmann [R-MN]. Dr. Paul joins us now. Congressman, thank you for coming on the program once again. We appreciate it.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Alan. Good to be with you.
Alan Colmes: Much is being said about the “boom” you’re having right now and how well you did. Last time you were on the show, you said you had to do well in Ames — which you really did. And I don’t know if you saw The Daily Show and all the other media saying, “Wow, you know, you’re just—the media’s not presenting you the way they should present you. They’re not giving you the attention you deserve.” Is it the media that’s your problem? Or is it the Republican Party that would get in the way of you actually getting the nomination?
Ron Paul: I think it’s the media. I think it’s the Republican Party. And I think it’s the Democratic Party. I sort of put them all together, except for a few good Democrats that I can talk to, like you. You’re independent minded. But you know what I’m talking about. You know, I’m sure that good, progressive Democrats, people that I work with, like Bernie Sanders [I-VT] and [Dennis] Kucinich [D-OH], they get frustrated with the leadership, too, because of the war issues and all.
So I think it’s the fact that I stand out so strongly against current management of government, where both parties seem to enjoy it. Whether it has to do with maintaining these wars, endorsement and support for things like the PATRIOT Act—that’s bipartisan. And there’s been bipartisan support for a good many years on the Federal Reserve. So these events are really, really challenging the status quo, and I think it’s a combination of all these things. I try real hard not to take it personal.
Alan Colmes: You can’t do that; you’ll go nuts. But how do you account for the fact that you are having the best political season of your career, in terms of—you’ve done this before, but never with this success. What do you think accounts for that?
Ron Paul: Well, just like I said, these various things that have gone on. But you know, there’s replays. I mean, that was astounding. If I’d have just—I don’t pay as much attention to this as the people who work in the campaign strategy. But when I came across that thing with Jon Stewart, I was pretty surprised—you know, it wasn’t like he was making this up. I think he was quoting a few people.
Alan Colmes: When saw video after video of everybody saying the same thing, and then when they even left you out of—they skipped right over you and went right from second place to fourth place and ignored you being in third place in one particular contest. I mean, it’s got to—I mean, on one hand, I guess you can laugh at it. But it’s got to irk you at some point and frustrate you.
Ron Paul: Yeah. I always look for a positive side of it, and I keep thinking that the progress we’ve made is fantastic. It’s the fact that we’re making such progress that they have to do this us, because I sincerely do believe that if we really controlled the debate and kept making this progress, we are a threat to a lot of people.
Alan Colmes: Do you think you have a shot at the nomination?
Ron Paul: I do. But I think it’s a tough one, and I understand what the odds are. But I think you really do; not so much in a conventional year, but we don’t live in a conventional time. Just think of what’s been going on. And I’m in a position where—you know, tonight I was on Larry Kudlow’s show [Kudlow & Company—CNBC]. And boy, they concluded—even after I got off, I heard them talking: “You know, he’s right. We do need a strong currency; there’s good points to be made about this.”
So no, I think the time is right for what I’m talking about. The people, I think, are with me more than the parties. I think a large majority of the American people say, “Why are spending trillions of dollars overseas? Why do we print money and give it out to the banks?” I mean, on and on, I just think I’m on the right side of these issues.
Alan Colmes: That be the issue is, the problem may be, every time you’re on and then even the nights you’re not on, I get calls saying, “Why aren’t you paying attention to Ron Paul?” I tell people, “We have Ron Paul on this show all the time! What are you talking about?” But because you’ve got a loyal, passionate following—ahead of where the Republican Party is, which begs the question now: Would you consider running as a third party or Independent candidate if you don’t get the nomination as a Republican?
Ron Paul: Well, before I answer that, I want to confirm that you have had me on. I think sometimes you ask me to come on, and you know, I’m pretty busy, so I don’t always—
Alan Colmes: Yeah, I know. But you’re always very kind to us.
Ron Paul: So, about a third party: I met you in 1988, and that was a struggle. To me—and I say this very sincerely, because I’ve said it many times—and that is, we’re supposed to go overseas and spread democracy and our goodness, and if they don’t do it, we use guns and we take over and we have nation-building, even in countries that are completely different than us, and we’re going to teach them the American way of democracy. And yet in this country—I’m careful when I use the word “democracy,” but the democratic process: we do know that if we’re going to elect leaders, it has to be through a democratic process. But it’s not really a fair process here. The third party candidates, they don’t get in the debates. It’s hard to raise—much harder to raise—money. They can’t get on ballots. You know, I was doing that in 1988; I didn’t raise a lot of money, but maybe a million-and-a-half or two million. But over half was spent on just trying to get on ballots, you know, and all our energy was getting on. And there are some countries around the world that make it a lot easier for that.
So I think we’re a little bit hypocritical, and I think we have a policy that makes no sense, when we use force and pretend that we’re the saints and we’re going to teach other people about democracy. I tell people, when they bring these resolutions up about lecturing other countries, I say, “Well, when we have a perfect system here, when we protect civil liberties here, then maybe we can lecture others.” But our responsibility is to have a good political system here and good civil libertarian protection, and then maybe we can feel free to lecture others.
Alan Colmes: In 1988 you ran as a Libertarian. At that time the Libertarian Party was perhaps not as well known or as prominent as it is now. I just wonder if now, since times are different, could you have some success? Your campaign manager, Jesse Benton, is quoted in The Hill today as saying, “We don’t deal in absolutes, but there’s virtually zero chance. He has—meaning you— no plans, no interest, it’s as close to zero as it can be without absolutely ruling it out”—meaning a third party run. Do you concur with what Jesse said?
Ron Paul: Yeah. And he’s the campaign spokesman, and he’s usually pretty darn good, and I would say that’s pretty close. I haven’t thought about it; I don’t expect to. But, you know, I might have used slightly different words. But no, I don’t plan to do that. They talk to me a lot. “Last go-around.” You know, it would—the only other thing I’ve considered, Alan, not so much, if the Republicans give me too much trouble, I just might run in the Democratic Primary. How would that be?
Alan Colmes: You’d put a challenge out to President Obama.
Ron Paul: Yeah, how about that? Wouldn’t that stir up—?
Alan Colmes: That’d really stir things up! Would you ever consider doing that?
Ron Paul: No, not really! But somebody’s going to pick this up and say, “Ron Paul is considering running in the Democratic Primary.”
Alan Colmes: You know that in many cases you have much compatibility with many Democrats, many of whom would embrace you just like many Republicans do. Many of your positions mirror what I think some Democrats ought to be standing for.
Ron Paul: Oh, absolutely. And we get a lot—when I get my rallies going, I always mention about the Democrats, and inevitably they’ll come up after and say, “I’m a Democrat.” But, you know, the biggest challenge, they’ll say, “Yeah, I like it. I like his position on civil liberties, and we do need an anti-war president, and I know he’ll stick to his guns.” But then they’ll say, “Yeah, but what about the entitlement system?” But you know, my approach to that shouldn’t be too threatening to anybody, because I’m trying to save the entitlement system, at least to work our way out from it. So if I could save a lot of money from overseas and some of these other boondoggles and corporate subsidies, you know, that would actually protect some of these benefits.
I say that if we—for instance, when we were building that billion-dollar embassy in Baghdad, I said, “My approach to this would be to cut the billion dollars out, put five hundred million dollars to the debt and put five hundred million dollars to taking care of the people that we have made dependent.” You know I don’t agree that that’s a good way of doing it, but to work our way out, I would do that. And I’ve talked to Dennis Kucinich about this—
Alan Colmes: I’d love to see a Kucinich-Paul ticket. Have you thought about that? That’d really be something.
Ron Paul: No, not seriously.
Alan Colmes: All right. But are you any more out of synch with Democrats than you are with Republicans?
Ron Paul: No. I think it’s 50/50 in many ways, because Republicans get very nervous when I say that they shouldn’t support the PATRIOT Act and that we should protect the Fourth Amendment. And when I want to protect the First Amendment, sometimes they don’t like that. And if you don’t want to put people in jail for drinking raw milk and things like that, sometimes they get nervous. Of course, the War on Drugs is my big issue, too. I think the War on Drugs is a disaster! You know, we’ve spent—since Nixon actually started it in modern times—we’ve spent well over a trillion dollars for that. And I’m sure you probably don’t think that has done a whole lot of good.
Alan Colmes: No. I’m with you on drugs. I think that I’m with you on that issue. Do you see yourself—you’re retiring from Congress at the end of this term. Do you see yourself ever running for office again after this particular campaign?
Ron Paul: Probably—no, I don’t think so. But I have to first decide whether I’m going to be up for re-election in four years or not. So I’m going to concentrate on this last—
Alan Colmes: … On this presidential campaign. But let’s say, by some quirk of fate, you are not the next President of the United States. Would you continue to seek the Presidency down the road, or would this be your last campaign?
Ron Paul: I wouldn’t think so. I’d rather be a talk show host or something like that.
Alan Colmes: It’s a terrible, terrible life, sir, I’ve got to tell you. It’s not—we don’t need the competition. But I think you’d do very well. I bet you’d do very well in this profession. What is your next move? Now you’ve done Ames. What’s the next thing you need to accomplish to move your campaign forward?
Ron Paul: In my mind, what I think about it, I continue to do the same thing I’ve done for thirty years, and that is—and the term that we use, that I use personally and it ended up in our organization is—”Campaigning for Liberty,” because I believe that is the essence of what makes a great country and makes for prosperity and for peace. But I’ll continue to do that. But we still are targeting Iowa, and tomorrow—I’m still in Texas right now, but tomorrow I’ll leave for New Hampshire, opening up our state headquarters there, and our organization is very strong. We have several dozen state reps that have endorsed me up there. It’s a great libertarian-leaning state.
Alan Colmes: I’ve literally got twenty seconds, we’ll get cut off. What’s your take on Rick Perry [R-Governor of Texas, 2000-present]?
Ron Paul: He needs to be asked a lot of questions about what really has gone on in Texas. I hope the media does ask him.
Alan Colmes: Thank you, Congressman. Thank you, Dr. Paul. Appreciate your time tonight, as always.
Ron Paul: Very good.