Ron Paul Returns to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart


This is a rush transcript. If you notice any errors please report them using the “Help improve this post” link at the bottom of this post.

Jon Stewart: Welcome my guest tonight. He is a Congressman from the great state of Texas who is also a Republican candidate for president. Please welcome back to the program Congressman Ron Paul. It’s nice to see you again.

Ron Paul: Thank you very much.

Jon Stewart: How are things going, are you feeling the love from the people?

Ron Paul: Oh, all the time. Especially the media, they really love me.

Jon Stewart: What do you think that is? You know, you ran in 2008, you had a nice strong showing, you’ve improved upon that, you came in a very close second in the Ames straw poll – and obviously some of the straws are here tonight. What is it about your candidacy that they so easily dismiss, and are they right when they say Ron Paul is not an electable figure?

Ron Paul: No, they’re wrong on that, I’ve been elected quite a few times already, so I’ve proved I can be elected. I think it’s two things; I think one is some people don’t want to hear the message because it’s a threat to them, because I’m a threat to the establishment. Some, though, just flat out don’t understand what freedom is all about and they don’t understand how the market works and they don’t care about monetary policy and they think that we have to continue to fight wars. They don’t understand the message, and I think that’s the main reason why they’re intimidated by me having a presence on the stage.

Jon Stewart: In these polls you go anywhere from 8% to 15%, but it’s a very enthusiastic group, the enthusiasm for your candidacy is very strong. Can you broaden that out? Your 15% or 12% or 10% will yell harder than Romney’s 30%. His 30% don’t really seem to like him very much, but how can you expand past that?

Ron Paul: Well, keep delivering the message, because the message is necessary and it’s very popular. The country is in big trouble economically, I have an economic message. And the foreign policy is in shambles; perpetual war, American people are sick and tired of it, that message is truly spreading. I also work on the assumption that you don’t always have to convince immediately 51%. You do need a hard core of people who understand the message, those are the people who will volunteer, work hard, donate the money, and then the persuasion comes. And I think that’s where we are. I think once you get to 10%, you have the numbers. We’re 10%, 14%, 15%, so I think we very well could be, and are most likely are on a verge of explosion in interest in this country.

Jon Stewart: It seems like what gets a lot of attention is saying one thing a few years ago, and then changing your position. Have you thought about flip-flopping? Because I feel like, when I watch the debates, a great deal of it is each candidate yelling at the other for things they used to say that they no longer believe in. And during that whole conversation, they really don’t look at you. So is there a way that you could, right now, perhaps, repudiate some of your past positions?

Ron Paul: So, if you were my political advisor, you would say maybe I should try that and get more attention.

Jon Stewart: I would suggest that perhaps what you should do right now is come out for a war on Iran. I feel like if you were to that, it would really generate a great deal of interest.

Ron Paul: And where would my supporters be? They would be gone, and rightfully so.

Jon Stewart: Your consistency has been a really problem for the media, I guess is what I’m saying.

Ron Paul: That is true.

Jon Stewart: Here’s what I’d like to do for you. I obviously have worked in this business for a long time, Congressman. I think I know what I could do for you that could bring some attention. Your look, the consistency of your positions, have you tried something like this? There you go, they all seem to love Chris Cristie, so I thought maybe if you did some of that. But maybe this, more than any other look, might be the way to go; there you go. You’ve served 12 straight terms in Congress, she left being Governor early, but she’s got that bus. Have you thought of anything along the lines of that, changing your look?

Ron Paul: I’ve been thinking about maybe you’ll generate some good idea and I’m not sure I’m going to follow the advice you just shot at me.

Jon Stewart: Here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to go to a commercial, come back and we’ll talk about those policies when we come back. We’ll get into them a little deeper and figure some of this out. Congressman Ron Paul will be back.

So now we’re back. There’s so much about what you say that appeals, and then I always feel like, “Ron Paul is really telling it like it is, he’s really getting it in.” You’ll go one step and I’ll go, “Ron, oh”. We were talking about the drug war and the legitimacy of the drug war and you seemed to be saying this was failing and I was listening to you and I was thinking, “Yes, Ron Paul is schooling these guys”. And then you went, “Like Heroine, for instance”. And I felt, “No, Ron!”

Ron Paul: No, now listen. I did not bring up that word, never have. But I do talk about freedom of choice and how ridiculous the war on drugs is. We spent over a trillion dollars on this war in the last 40 years, and I fear the war on drugs a lot more than I fear the drugs themselves. And I think drugs are horrible, I think they’re dangerous. Prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs, I think, are very, very dangerous. But the war on drugs, which violates civil liberties, getting people busting into our houses, that is the real danger to our civil liberties and that’s just one example of the violation of our civil liberties.

Jon Stewart: So would you seriously not regulate any drugs, like heroine? Would you allow people to make that choice as well?

Ron Paul: I would, but under our system, especially the federal government … see, I’m dealing with a federal office … for most of our history we didn’t do that. Somebody sent me and advertisement the other day, it was just an advertisement in a magazine for cocaine for cough. And I worked in a drug store when I was a kid, and I sold codeine over the counter. And not one of my friends, I don’t remember anybody ever drinking codeine to get high. So I don’t think…

Jon Stewart: I should introduce you to some of my friends then. I’ll be honest with you, you and I travel on very different circles.

Ron Paul: But I don’t think the laws make people better people, I think that’s a waste of time and it destroys liberty, it destroys freedom of choice.

Jon Stewart: Do you worry that you trust us more than you should? Because one of the things I have trouble with is, I have trouble trusting the market. And I don’t know, has the market shown itself to be a good regulator of itself or not to create conditions. These regulations of cocaine and heroin or something other things, they didn’t occur in a vacuum; they did occur with some real world implications.

Ron Paul: Yea, but you’re still trusting people, you’re trusting people who’re regulating: the bureaucrats and the politicians, you’re not exactly their best friend.

Jon Stewart: That’s a good point.

Ron Paul: But you want to deliver all these decision-making to the post offices and the CIA and the TSA group, and then you want the budgeting to be done by the Pentagon? That doesn’t work very well. So I would say that, yes, I do trust the people a lot more. But when I talk to young people, and I talk to a lot of them, I asked them, “If we can get your freedom back, just remember, the decisions you make affect yourself and you can’t come crawling to the government for some help”. When I make a decision, when the government makes a decision, it’s for everybody. When you make a bad decision, it only hurts you. So if you have great faith in people, then you have to say, “Well, the people are the politicians”, and quite frankly, the people I know in Washington aren’t capable of telling you what you ought to do.

Jon Stewart: Good point.

Ron Paul: Doesn’t trusting the people also, then, accept the fact that people won’t let their fellow man be in a position where they fail, and they’ll want to step in and help. Because they will, you know, in this country, people without medical insurance will get medical care because doctors won’t let them die. And how do we deal with that fact?

Ron Paul: Well, I think that is the point. But if you come to the conclusion, which I have over studying this for many years, is that a free market system is the only true humanitarian system. When there was a time when you had only government tyranny, you had famine. But no, if you truly care about solving these problems, you have to understand how the market works, how personal choices work. But it doesn’t mean that people won’t be helped. If you want less people to be sick and without care, you don’t want a totalitarian government, it doesn’t work. It’s the kind of system we have now. Our problems in medicine today is the result of 40 some years of government which delivered the care to the bureaucrats and to the corporations. The corporations, the drug companies and insurance run medicine. So all this good feeling doesn’t the problem.

Jon Stewart: What would stop them from running it? First of all, in your mind, has there ever been a time when the market did regulate itself? And was there a time in our history of capitalism or anything along those lines that you could point to and say, “That was a better system, that was a more humanitarian system”. Because my understanding of those days, the 1800s is that they were incredibly rapacious and these protections arose from the failings of the market.

Ron Paul: No, it’s the failure of government. Take the railroads, for instance. The government gave them all our free land and they got in bed with the government. No, I think the best example for this is the way we treat people in the media and comedians. I want to eliminate all prior restraint. How would you operate if you had prior restraint and we had to monitor your words? You probably wouldn’t be allowed to have me on your programs if there was prior restraint?

Jon Stewart: Is that true?

Ron Paul: Yes, it’s true.

Jon Stewart: I’m a very brave man.

Ron Paul: I don’t believe in any prior restraint, I want to treat everybody like we can treat you. And this is a good example; you deal with very important matters, you deal with the truth, and we hope you’ll always bring the truth out.

Jon Stewart: Right, sometimes no.

Ron Paul: Yea, you’re at risk, but the market will regulate you. You can’t lie to the people. But no, I really do believe this: if people would see the manufacturing and delivering goods and services, like we see how we treat people in the media with no prior restraint, and yet you can do a great deal of harm. Think of intellectually the damage done by bad ideas. We don’t restraint professors at the university, and they can teach communism and fascism and they can teach about the Fed and we don’t close down the university because they teach about the Fed. So I would say that’s the …

Jon Stewart: But that’s different than putting dioxin in the river.

Ron Paul: But whoever got this idea? I think, the environment would be better protected by strict property rights. I was raised in a city in Pittsburg where the sewers were the rivers, and the corporations did it in cohesion with the government, and the government puts the sewer. All you have to say is you have no right to pollute your neighbor’s property, water, air or anything. And you wouldn’t have the politicians writing the laws and exempting certain companies. They write the laws and exempt themselves, and then they trade permits to pollute the air.

Jon Stewart: Does the failure of government to protect adequately, though, make it a failure of government having that responsibility? Does their inability to do it ineffectively make it so that they shouldn’t do it?

Ron Paul: In a way, especially at the federal level. You know, under our constitution, ….

Jon Stewart: Aren’t they a market system, is what I’m saying? Wouldn’t you rather have people regulating that are accountable to voters, than corporations regulating themselves accountable only to share holders? Isn’t our system, I guess you could say, as unfair or maybe not as good as it may be, at least they’re accountable to us.

Ron Paul: But the regulations are stricter in the marketplace. For instance, the regulators have been very much involved in the housing industry, we print a lot of money and we have mortgage companies, and they had a big bubble and they made a lot of money because we wanted to make sure everybody had a house. Well, they go broke, so the regulators got bailed out. The people who control the regulations bail out the big companies, the middle class lose their jobs and they lose their houses. So all this desire and trust in the government to make sure that big corporations won’t hurt them actually is a backfire on them. The regulations are much tougher in a free market because you cannot commit fraud, you cannot steal, you cannot hurt people. And the failure has come that government wouldn’t enforce this. In the industrial revolution, there was a cohesion and you could pollute and they got away with it. But in a true free market in a libertarian society, you can’t do that, you have to be responsible. So the regulations would be tougher.

Jon Stewart: When you say “In a true libertarian society, you have to be responsible”, has that ever been tried? I think it’s an honest question to say it sounds like when you say, the free market would actually regulate that much better. But I think it’s hard for people who know the history of the industrial revolution to feel like that is in any way not a pipedream. And I don’t mean that as disrespect to the idea, but …

Ron Paul: No, it’s been tried, it’s never been perfect. But has socialism and authoritarianism ever been perfect?

Jon Stewart: No.

Ron Paul: No, it’s horrible. You lose all your freedoms that way.

Jon Stewart: Is that our choice? Is our choice authoritarianism and tyranny or sort of a free market that we must trust? Isn’t there a ground of competent …?

Ron Paul: Yes, I think if you plant the seed, it tends to grow. I used to never be able to get away with telling one of my patients, a woman comes in and she’s pregnant, and I say, “Don’t worry about it, it’s a touch of pregnancy”, it doesn’t work that way. If you get government involved, there tends to be a little bit of income tax, 1%, then before you know you have a monster out there. So no, it grows. We give up a 100% of the principle if you start saying the government ought to do it. But under our system, since I don’t expect the perfect society and a perfect free society, but we had a grand experiment, the best ever and the freest and the most prosperous. But one of the rules they had to sort of take care of this blend that you might be looking for, is if we have no prohibitions against the state. So if you sort of like this stuff, let Bloomberg write all the regulations, let somebody else do it.

Jon Stewart: So oppression is not okay from the federal level, but if your state wants to oppress you …

Ron Paul: But you have more control over it if it’s local. You were arguing the case that you have to have a little big government to rescue the people that really need it. Well, do it at the local level because, let me tell you, we’re not very efficient in Washington. You know, we’ve run up the debt.

Jon Stewart: I’ve heard about that, it’s been on the news.

Ron Paul: So just think about if you have trouble with a few of these things, think about it like the Pentagon. You want to turn it over to the Pentagon or the CIA or the TSA and see how good they are at taking care of it.

Jon Stewart: And you wouldn’t worry that the states would just develop their own mechanisms for that type of thing.

Ron Paul: Well, let’s hope the people would work out and make it decent. Some states would do better than others and that was the wonderful part about our country. Look how the financial systems in some of the mid-western states destroyed their jobs, and they move south because they had more favorable working conditions, less taxes, so people migrated down. But unfortunately the whole country..

Jon Stewart: Well, now it’s a global correction, we’d have to go down all the way down to what China’s conditions are now.

Ron Paul: Yea, what has happened now is that we’ve undermined our whole environment, our monetary system, tax system, regulatory system, so there’s no place to go so they do go overseas. We chase our jobs overseas and that’s strongly related to the monetary system, too. When you print money it’s a good export, just export our money and as long as they take it, we can just buy stuff for free; that’s our big problem.

Jon Stewart: Alright. Well, listen, it’s always great to see you and I always enjoy our conversations.

Ron Paul: Thank you very much.

Jon Stewart: And you really are one of our last consistent politicians that we see in this world, so really appreciate it. Congressman Ron Paul.

Ron Paul will return to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this Monday, September 26, at 11 pm EST.

Last month, Jon Stewart had famously called out the mainstream media’s disconnect from Ron Paul:


Ron Paul Paul thanked Stewart for the media attention, insisting that it was “great that somebody like that comes to defend us.”

Below are videos of Ron Paul’s previous appearances on The Daily Show from 2009 and 2007.

  • Mary Jo Heinen

    Jon Steward did very well with Ron.

  • Todd Shoenfelt

    Kudos to Stewart for giving the Good Doctor a fair shake. The first video is a classic. He found great outtakes of the mainstream media’s propaganda bias.

  • Realistically

    Seriously, when the leftist mainstream media, such as The Daily Show, is promoting a candidate then you know that you should not be voting for that candidate. Think about it.

    • TripDouglas

      You should probably get out of politics and go play Halo. You are clearly involved in nothing more than a red vs blue war. Individualists have no need for either. Both are two opinions on the same failed viewpoint. Dr. Paul stands for something different. I suggest you pick up a book and stop looking to ANY 24 hour news media machine for your information. Say baaaaahhhhh for the camera!


    • ChristopherMatthewSferlazza

      When the leftist mainstream media, such as The Daily Show , is promoting a candidate who is on the right and wants to follow the Constitution , then you know you should be voting for that candidate. Think about it

    • MichaelKelly

      Jon Stewart may be a little left leaning, but he respects consistency and passion when he sees it. Yeah, its no lie, Ron Paul’s philosophy is different from the two main parties. But with the duopoly we have now, its a breath of fresh air that there is a genuine candidate that actually does what he says and has been fighting a seemingly impossible uphill battle for 30 years with no regrets. He’s a man of principle, he’s a man of integrity, he’s a natural leader. In a time of social turmoil there is always someone with a fresh perspective to lead us through the archetypal paradigm shift. And think about this. This man wants to bust up lobbies, cut federal revenue so they stop recklessly spending OUR money and giving it to our enemies overseas, bring the troops home to protect OUR borders instead of borders in the Middle East and abolish the income tax. Some people think it would be impossible to abolish the income tax. But look at our budget, we could operate on the same budget we had in 2000 if we got rid of the income tax. And if we straighten out our priorities as a nation and realize that we’re in a very bad financial situation. Ron Paul has served on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he fully understands the motivations behind extremists in the middle east and agrees with our intelligence agencies as well as Michael Scheuer, the former CIA Chief of the Bin Laden Unit, when he says Iran poses no threat technologically and that terrorists are only motivated by OUR invasive foreign policy. It’s no longer about winning, its about the safety of the American people and antagonizing an already unstable region by furthering our involvement in their political affairs only puts us more at risk. The government acknowledges it, the Intelligence Agencies acknowledge this, Ron Paul isn’t afraid to tell the American people what’s really going on whether they want to hear it or not. He’s a man that will do what he can to help this country whether he wins or not. He’s also served on the House Committee on Financial Services, the Joint Economic Committee, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology where he currently resides as Chairman and oversees the Fed and their activities.

      • MichaelKelly

        He’s also gotten an Audit on the Federal Reserve that revealed the Fed printed out over 16 trillion dollars and gave most of it to foreign banks and no one even knew about it. A Ron Paul presidency would be great for the PEOPLE but bad for career politicians who benefit off this corrupt system. If Ron Paul wins the nomination you can expect an assassination attempt. He truly represents the culmination of 30 years working tirelessly, even returning his congressional pension to the treasury every year, to change the system. The government doesn’t want him to be President because he would truly set things in motion and begin eradicating corruption at all levels of the Federal Government. Of course he’s not going to get the media attention he deserves, especially when one of these men, Rupert Murdoch, is the owner of Fox and already has Perry in his back pocket. They were spotted having a little dinner meeting. Regardless of its intentions, its a conflict of interest that Perry would associate himself with someone so high up on the totem pole. Could explain his media explosion after Ames that gave him his frontrunner status, its obvious Perry wasn’t a candidate of the people. No one had heard him speak at debates, he had no clear platform, he’s got tons of gubernatorial baggage from back in Texas including the $400,000 Merck Donation preceding the Gardasil scandal and the 82% job growth rate where most where government jobs and/or went to illegal immigrants who he also paid for their college and used tax payer money to give benefits to those that weren’t even paying into the system. Perry is an establishment shill if there ever was one. Sad thing is with the exception of a few people, probably 6-7 of those people on stage all fit that same criteria. Full of corruption, full of ambition but clueless when it comes to practical ideas. Ron Paul was polling 2-3% back in 2008. Now he’s third nationwide and following this Perry implosion he may very well be competing with Perry for second in the coming months before Iowa. If there ever was a time to jump on a bandwagon and support a genuine candidate with a proven track record of consistency and the legislative experience and economic experience to really turn things around, its now. I know its a long read but if I even reach one person out there and at least spark the interest for someone to at least read his books or watch a few clips and hear the passion and fire in his heart for true change and a return to constitutional run by the people government then I can sleep easy tonight. Because I’ll be honest with you, its frightening to think of what would happen if our currency was taken off the global standard and the amount of inflation we would experience because of it if we don’t turn this country around very very soon.

        • MichaelKelly

          I’ll leave you with these words: Reagan ran in 1976. The conservatives said he was crazy, he was too eccentric, he was too old and he was a nutcase. In 1980 he defeated an incumbent Democrat. Reagan endorsed Paul during his congressional run. Can any other candidates in the GOP Debates flaunt a Reagan endorsement? No. Point is, a genuine candidate, a true candidate is always going to be blacked out and is always going to be abused by the system. Some fade away into obscurity. Paul is putting up the fight of his life. The amount of respect you have to have for that quality of perseverance really shows an element of a true dedicated leader.

  • Ron Preston

    Not a Fan of Jon Stewart, but he nailed it here

  • Damon Rolnick

    Can’t wait

  • Amanda Wiles

    I will definitely be watching!

  • Patrick Manz

    they are ignoring you because that is their strategy to deal with a threat

  • Jgi Gilmore
  • Jgi Gilmore

    he will also be at Hampton Hall:

  • James L. Hill

    Gotta watch hillarious ..but Too True

  • Benjamin W. Blair

    Love the daily show! This is almost as good Dr. Paul on NPR

  • Elijah Jones

    If you need any help starting something up in NYC let me know Mr. Paul! [email protected] or [email protected]!

  • Eric D Foote

    Monday night at 11 PM EDT, 8 PM PDT

  • Idris Ali

    *shrugs* I’ll wait for the clip on youtube

  • Phillip Waldner

    I’ll be watching. Monday at 8, right?

  • Jerry Erhart

    13th floor in a motel…that was great.

  • JosephSelden

    The daily show isn’t pro dems they are just pro anti stupid government. i think its great that Ron is going on there again. i have a lot of respect for Jon stewart in the fact he supports whats right for people. Go Ron i’ll be watching!.

  • Idris Ali

    well…at first I was a little leery about being on The Daily Show, but apparently he’s already been there at least twice…

  • CastleAgeDust

    Ive seen this video multiple times its funny at the same time its sad this is how far reporters and journalists go to shroud the truth nowadays.

  • Joseph Bursey

    Go Ron go!