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Wolf Blitzer: Now that he’s at the front of the Republican pack, the presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, is getting a lot of attention from his rivals, and they’re not pulling any punches. Take a look at this ad from Congressman Ron Paul, an ad entitled “Serial Hypocrisy”.
Nancy Pelosi: We don’t always see eye to eye, do we, Newt?
Newt Gingrich: No, but we do agree our country must take action to address climate change.
Voice: Newt Gingrich has been on both sides of a long list of issues, sometimes in the same week.
Newt Gingrich: I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering.
Paul Ryan: With allies like that, who needs the left?
Rush Limbaugh: It cuts Paul Ryan off at the knee, it supports the Obama Administration, there is no explanation for it.
Wolf Blitzer: Congressman Ron Paul is joining us now from Manchester, New Hampshire, that’s a pretty important state. Congressman, thanks, as usual, for coming in.
Ron Paul: Thanks, Wolf.
Wolf Blitzer: Let’s talk a little bit about Newt Gingrich. That was a pretty tough ad, what is your basic problem with the former speaker of the house?
Ron Paul: I think that my goal was to get information out, and it wasn’t so much that I was verbalizing or giving opinions, as much as we took and tried to do some reporting on what he has said in the past and where he stands now. And it’s something that contrasts him from where I stand, because I usually get complements because I haven’t been charged with having changed my position. And I’ve been around for couple of years and I’ve been saying things, but most people realize that I keep saying the same thing over again and it becomes more popular. Whereas in his case, he tried to catch up and change his position to fit the particular time in which he’s speaking. So I think it was to make that point, but it was also to show that other people are saying that; and to dramatize it, to show that he does change his position or not. And that’s one of the issues of the campaign, the people changing in campaigns and not being able to rely o politicians, that’s what this whole mess is about in government today and why there’s a Tea Party Movement and why there’s a sit-in movement, and the people are just very frustrated with this. And we’re pointing this out that he has not been consistent on his positions over the years.
Wolf Blitzer: What’s the most important inconsistency as far as Newt Gingrich is concerned that comes to your mind and causes you concern.
Ron Paul: The one that bothers me the most is probably getting a million and a half dollars from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. When I think about that, about an institution that I had been challenging for more than 10 years, I wanted to stop the financial bubble and the housing bubble from forming. And he really, indirectly at least, gets the money from the tax payer, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to be bailed out and we had to pay those debts that were run up and here he was getting a lot of money from them. And it’s not a conservative position, it’s a bailout position. So he made money off the bailouts if you add up the numbers and put it all together. So that, to me, was rather annoying because it was something that I worked so hard to try to prevent. So it’s sort of ironic to think that the American people now are seriously considering that he’s supposed to come in and straighten things out. That sort of is bewildering to me.
Wolf Blitzer: We’ve reported that he made between 1.6 and 1.8 million dollars from Freddie Mac, not from Fannie Mae. I don’t know if that makes any difference to you, but that’s just a technicality. He also says he never ever lobbied in his life. I want your reaction when he says he was providing historical advice to them, he was giving them educational advice, but he never lobbied. Is that acceptable to you?
Ron Paul: Well, that might be a legal description, but what he is being paid for? It is to influence or introduce people, so that’s a technicality on what does lobbying mean. Matter of fact, lobbying is perfectly legal, the first amendment allows us to lobby and petition our government, so that is not relevant. It’s whether or not you’re using your position to make a lot of money. So whether you’re going to give advice on history, I mean, I don’t think a whole lot of people buy into that. I think he was important because he was an important figure, he’s very influential, he knew a lot of people and he could sell his advice. And if you don’t want to all it lobbying, I mean, who’s going to worry about the definition.
Wolf Blitzer: if he’s the Republican nominee, could you support him?
Ron Paul: You know, nobody has come around on some of the positions that are important to me. Matter of fact, he’s so different on this Freddie Mac business, he has talked about an audit of the Fed, and he personally has told me that I was right on that. So if he would come around on those issues, and he could convince me that it’s not just flipping around for an advantage, I would look at it and try to look at it seriously and see if he really wants an audit of the Fed and these sorts of things. But there are a lot of questions I would have to ask, because just think of last debate how super supportive he was of the PATRIOT Act. I think if we would have called the PATRIOT Act the “Repeal the 4th Amendment Act”, it probably wouldn’t have passed. But I see the PATRIOT Act as the Repeal the 4th Amendment Act. So we have a great deal of differences on civil liberties, so I would have a great deal of difficulty, but I shouldn’t be closed minded to it.
Wolf Blitzer: Who’s a bigger problem, as far as you’re concerned, if you weren’t to get the Republican nominee? In other words, who would be worse as a Republican nominee, would it be Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?
Ron Paul: Worse in what way, position wise, or as a candidate?
Wolf Blitzer: Worse from your perspective on the substantive issues most important to you.
Ron Paul: Do I have to choose on that, I’m not anxious to pick and choose between them.
Wolf Blitzer: You don’t have to, it’s a free country, you don’t have to if want to.
Ron Paul: I think, to be fair, you can probably find, and the media has pointed out some of the flip-flops that Romney has made. But I think I was more energized to do something when I found these on Newt and these things that he has said, I thought they were more meaningful.
Wolf Blitzer: We invited a lot of our viewers to send us questions for you. And whenever we do that, you have a lot of fans as you well know on Facebook and twitter. We got some questions and I’m going to read some of them to you and let me get your quick response. stephen Harris on Facebook sent us this question for you, Congressman: I would like a vow from him that he will not run as a third-party candidate. He has some good idea, but if he were to run, he would effectively hand the crown to Obama for 4 more years. Hope he isn’t this selfish”. Congressman, what do you say to Stephen Harris?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t plan to run, I’m not thinking about it. I’m in a good race, we’re doing better, we’re either in second or third place in both states. But I don’t make vows on television programs and I don’t like to talk in absolutes because none of us are ever absolutely right on anything that we do or say. So I’m not going to make a vow, but I would take an oath of office very seriously, like I have for Congress, and I’ll take my oath of office being sworn in as President as a very serious issues. But not to take a vow on something like this which I don’t think is going to accomplish a whole lot. But there’s no intention, no plan. I am absolutely encouraged by what’s happening now in the campaign, and you’re discussing that at this very moment on your station, and we are doing exceptionally well in Iowa, and here in New Hampshire doing quite well here too. And this last month is very, very important, so the last thing on my mind is wondering about doing something somewhere else afterwards. I have enough on my mind.
Wolf Blitzer: You got your glass full right now. Here’s another question from Jana Bartholomew, Congressman: What does he think about all this Herman Cain mess?
Ron Paul: I’m tired of it, and I think this is one of the reasons I wanted to talk about Newt Gingrich and get some news out on him. I think that’s what the media should have been talking about; some of these positions. But I don’t say that the media shouldn’t have covered Herman Cain, but I am pretty tired of it, it’s just on and on and on. There should be a limit, there should be a statute of limitations, you know, after about 2 or 3 weeks maybe we can ease off a little bit. But I think these other issues on the positions of the candidates and whether they’re not being consistent or not in what their positions really are and being challenged. I mean, I would like to see more challenges on this whole idea that I’ve thrown out there, which is, does the PATRIOT Act really repeal the Fourth Amendment, are these things important? That, to me, is way more important than dwelling hour after hour and day after day on the personal life of Herman Cain.
Wolf Blitzer: One final question before I let you go. Extending the payroll tax cuts; it’s a big issue, the Republicans had one idea of paying for it, the Democrats have another idea of paying for it. Now, how will you vote when the dust settles to extend the payroll tax cut, which could provide a thousand dollars for the average American family next year?
Ron Paul: Yea, I definitely would vote. I never vote to raise taxes, and that would be voting to put the tax back on. So I would definitely be for extending it. But I would insist that we pay for it and I would want to cut. All we’d have to do is cut about 10,000 or 15,000 people out of the embassy in Baghdad and bring them home and you could pay for it and do a lot of other things. Cut some overseas spending, and make sure the people get even more tax breaks and not think that you have to pay for it by raising taxes on somebody else.
Wolf Blitzer: Ron Paul, the Congressman, the Republican presidential candidate, good luck out there in New Hampshire. In Iowa, we’ll of course be watching.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Wolf.