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Chris Wallace: Several GOP presidential contenders, one candidate looks to make a move. He has the money to compete with the front runners, but does he have the message to reach enough voters? We’ll talk with Congressman Ron Paul as we continue our series of 2012 One on One interviews. It’s a Fox News Sunday exclusive, all right now, on Fox News Sunday. And hello again from Fox news in Washington. The Republican presidential race intensified this week, but for all the ups and downs, one candidate has held steady, raising millions and staying within striking distance of the leaders. Continuing our 2012 One on One series of interviews, we’re joined now by Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. And, Congressman, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.
Ron Paul: Thank you, it’s nice to be here.
Chris Wallace: Let’s start with the campaign, because the voting – and this is remarkable – is now less than 2 months away. I want to put up a couple of recent polls, and in the latest Des Moines Register Poll, you’re running third in Iowa, but 10 points behind Cain and Romney. In the latest Time poll, you’re running third in South Carolina by about the same margin. Now we should point out that you won the Iowa straw poll yesterday, and congratulations on that, sir. But how do you expand your support, how do you go from being a respectable third, to actually winning?
Ron Paul: Well, the one thing is, is it’s not by changing my message, because I’ve had a message that’s been the same. But the message becomes more appropriate everyday because I have talked about our monetary system, our spending, our debt. And we’re in the midst now of a sea change in the world because of this expansion of debt worldwide, and we’re on the hook for it because we have a dollar reserve standard and the American tax payer is on the hook. And it’s moving in this direction, it’s in the news every single day. We spend too much, and my message is cut spending, not raise taxes, change the opinion about what governments should do. But in my proposal, I say real spending cuts, not like the others tinkering on the edges; I want a trillion dollar cut in the first year to show that it’s spending that is the problem.
Chris Wallace: Okay, we’re going to get to that in a min, and I should point out, of course, it was the Illinois straw poll, the Iowa straw poll was back in August.
Ron Paul: I’ll take both of them.
Chris Wallace: Well, there you go, you almost won the Iowa straw poll. Many conservatives say that they like your views on less spending, smaller government, adhering to the constitution. But the problem they have, the bridge too far, is foreign policy. They’re upset with what they view as isolationist views, especially when it comes to fighting the war on terror.
Ron Paul: I think that is a false charge about isolationism. Isolationism is when you put on tariffs and protectionism and you don’t want to trade with people and you don’t want to travel. And mine is the opposite, mine is really very open. But I don’t want troops around the world, because I think it hurts our national defense. By having too many troops, it helps bankrupt our country. The wars that we have been fighting were undeclared and, from my viewpoint, illegal and unconstitutional. But in the last 10 years, these foreign expenditures around the world have contributed to around 4 trillion dollars worth of our debt, so we can’t change that. But I think we’re better off served, our national security is better off by a different foreign policy, that’s my argument.
Chris Wallace: But, for instance, drones; a lot of people say that the drones have been terrifically effective, they’ve taken out a lot of the Al-Qaida leadership, it doesn’t involve putting troops on the ground, it’s cheap. As I said, it doesn’t involve a lot of manpower, and it does strike, and it’s been very deadly in its effectiveness. So why are you against drone strikes?
Ron Paul: Because I don’t agree with that assessment, I think it makes things worse. Because if you have one bad guy, and you go after him and say, “He’s the one, he’s an Al-Qaida leader, let’s kill him”. But sometimes they miss, sometimes there’s collateral damage, and every time we do that, we develop more enemies. Take, for instance, we’re dropping a lot of drone missile bombs in Pakistan and claim we’ve killed so many. But how about the innocent people who died? Nobody hears about that. This is why the people of Pakistan can’t stand our guts and why they disapprove of their own government. So we’re bombing Pakistan and trying to kill some people, making a lot of mistakes, building up our enemies, and at the same time, we’re giving billions of dollars to the government of Pakistan and we’re more or less inciting a civil war there. So I think that makes us less safe, for every one you kill, you probably create 10 new people who hate our guts and would like to do us harm.
Chris Wallace: Do you think the allegations against Herman Cain are relevant in this campaign?
Ron Paul: The allegations against his program, his liking the Federal Reserve and his national sales tax? Yea, they’re very illegitimate; and his support for bail outs, those allegations are very illegitimate. Those other allegations, these problems that he had, I think the media has blown that way out of proportion. I think there are a thousand stories out on that, and I think that dilutes the real debate, because his views on foreign policy, for instance, are dramatically different than mine. He wants to expand these things and he believes in the bailouts and the Federal Reserve and all this. I think that’s what we should be talking about, and I don’t like these distractions. So I don’t agree with all the concentration on that.
Chris Wallace: Let me ask you one question more about the distractions, though. Just speaking as a practical politician, do you think that they help you, do you think that they may get some of his supporters to take a second look at you?
Ron Paul: Oh, I think there’s a cycle going on here, and I don’t think that in particular. I think we’ve seen sudden surges of candidates, and then they fall off again. I think all of that is helpful to me, but not specifically because they’ve been these challenges. But I think when people get to know what Herman stands for, I think that helps me because they’re not going to say, “He’s not really for any cuts, and he’s for adding this national sales tax”. So yes, that helps me a whole lot.
Chris Wallace: Alright, let’s talk about what Ron Paul stands for, and specifically, your new plan to restore America, let’s drill down a little bit into it. Here it is: You call for cutting the federal budget, as you just said, by 1 trillion dollars, roughly 25% of the budget in the first year. You say you would balance the budget in 3 years, spending would be 15.5% of GDP in 3 years; the last time it was that low was 1951. Question: even the conservative American Enterprise Institute says those kinds of dramatic short-term cuts would send this country back into a recession.
Ron Paul: You know, that’s exactly what they said after World War II, and they cut the budget 60% and they cut taxes 30% and they released 10 million people from the military, and we finally had an economic boom for the first time since the 1920s. So no, you shouldn’t fear freedom and free markets and letting people spend the money rather than the government. You take all these resources out of the hands of the government, that doesn’t mean the money isn’t going to be spent, it means that the individuals are going to be spending. Maybe we could create an environment where people would start investing again and building automobiles and whatever they need to do. But it’s where the money is spent that is so important. It’s not like we take it away, we put it into productive use. When government spends this money, it’s non-productive; it goes into bureaucracies, it goes into regulations, it goes into subsidizing corporations that don’t deserve to be subsidized, it goes to bailing out people. No, that’s all wasteful spending, that damages the economy. You want the money to be spent by individuals and business people, not the government.
Chris Wallace: But I think we would both agree that there are some legitimate functions that government can perform that no one else can. Let me ask you about some of your cuts which maybe more controversial. Again, let’s put them on the screen. You would reduce funding for the National Institutes of Health by 23%, you would reduce funding for the Centers for Disease Control by 38%. What specific programs would you cut, Congressman?
Ron Paul: Oh, I would eventually try to wean ourselves off, because these are functions that are not properly authorized by our government.
Chris Wallace: Wait, let me just pick up on that. You don’t think that the government has a role in trying to do research to try to find answers to new diseases. For example, the Center of Disease Control, if there’s an epidemic sweeping the world?
Ron Paul: Well, if it’s international, yes, and if its people coming in, yes, we’ll have some responsibility. But when it’s R&D and how this money should be spent, unfortunately, it’s spent for political reasons rather than market reasons. So when that happens, the lobbyist come out and they lineup specially the drug companies are very much in favor of this. But the decisions are made by politicians and bureaucrats, rather than by the marketplace. But you want more R&D, you would have much more R&D and it would be better directed if investors and the market make these decisions. Because, believe me, the politicians and bureaucrats aren’t smart enough to know exactly what you should be investing in and which immunity you have to give. All these decisions are made, and when government makes a mistake, it hurts everybody. If a businessman makes a mistake in R&D, it hurts only that company. So it’s this reliability on government to make decisions that are better made in the economy, is what we had for 150 years. We don’t have this idea government has to be the vehicle for making significant economic decisions, this is rather new. And to take the individuals and corporations to make these decisions, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Chris Wallace: Let’s turn to Iran, because there is growing fear around the world. There’s going to be a new IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog report this next week, that the country is getting closer to a “nuclear breakout”, as it’s called, where it would have all the elements, all the skills, to assemble a nuclear weapon. Would President Paul do anything to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?
Ron Paul: Only by changing foreign policy and treating them differently. But the one thing that I’d caution against is some type of an overreaction. And if what you say is true – but they have been saying that for 10 years or so, so it may or may not be true, they haven’t proven it. But you’re saying they have various items and they might someday put a weapon together. See, the worst thing that could be is an overreaction and go to war over this. And this week our international relations committee passed a very, very strong sanctions bill against Iran, which means that even if any other country, even if an ally does any trading with Iran, we’re going to punish them. So when you put on strong sanctions, those are acts of war, because we did that in Iraq for 10 years and little kids died, they couldn’t get medicines and food, it led to war. So I would say, treat them differently and it would be less threatening.
Chris Wallace: When you say treat them differently …
Ron Paul: Don’t put sanctions on them.
Chris Wallace: So how are we going to persuade them not to pursue a nuclear weapon?
Ron Paul: Well, maybe offering friendship to them. I mean, didn’t we talk to the Soviets, didn’t we talk to the Chinese? They had thousands of these weapons, and we worked our way through the Cold War. I was in the military during the 1960s, and it was dangerous then, but we didn’t think, “We have to attack the Soviets”. They had capabilities, the Iranians aren’t even capable of making enough gasoline for themselves. For them to be a threat to us or to anybody in the region, I think it’s just blown out of proportion, people are anxious to use violence against the Iranians. I think it would undermine our security, I think it would be very destructive to Israel, because this is going to blow that place up. It is not like a changeover of government in Egypt or someplace like that, which is always a negative because they’re reacting to our foreign policy.
Chris Wallace: Finally, there is speculation – and I understand you’re running for the GOP nomination – but there is speculation that if you don’t win, you might run as a third-party independent candidate. Can you state flatly that you will support the Republican nominee in the off chance that it isn’t Ron Paul?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, probably not unless I get to talk to them and find out what they really believe in. But if they believe in expanding the wars, if they don’t believe in looking at the Federal Reserve, if they don’t believe in real cuts, if they don’t believe in deregulations, and a better tax system, it would defy everything I believe in. And so therefore I would be reluctant to jump onboard and tell all the supporters that have given me trust and money, n all of a sudden I say, “All that we’ve done is for naught”, so they’ll support anybody at all because even if they disagree with everything that we do.
Chris Wallace: So does that mean that you might then consider an independent run?
Ron Paul: No, that does not mean that at all.
Chris Wallace: But would you?
Ron Paul: I have no intention of doing that, that doesn’t make any sense to me to even think about it, let alone plan to do that.
Chris Wallace: Because?
Ron Paul: Because I don’t want to do it, that’s a pretty good reason.
Chris Wallace: You answered it right there. Congressman Paul, it’s always a pleasure to talk with you, sir, thank you so much and we’ll see you on the campaign trail.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Chris.
Chris Wallace: Up next, the two Congressmen leading. I like that, “I just don’t want that do it”.