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Candy Crowley: Congressman Paul joins me now from his home state of Texas. Congressman, you were greeted this morning by a new Des Moines Register poll that I want to share with our audience. It’s showing Newt Gingrich on top at 25%. And then coming in second, Ron Paul at 18%, beating out Mitt Romney at 16% and everyone else is in the single digits. How do you take these numbers and roll them into a victory in January, have you got the manpower to do it?
Ron Paul: Of course, it is very encouraging, because we’re getting pretty close to being within the margin of error. So I think we continue to do what we’re doing. We’ve had the flavors-of-the-month up and down so far in this campaign. I’d like to think of myself as the flavor-of-the-decade. So we’ll keep plodding along on a couple of issues that are really striking a chord with the people. And that is, of course, the wars, the end of these wars going on, as well as the financial condition of the country. Because I’ve been talking about the housing bubble and the financial situation that we have and the crisis going on and even the recent promises that we, the United States, with our dollar, will bail out Europe. So these issues are striking a chord with the people, and I think this is why we are doing so well in the polls, not only in Iowa, but we have some similar results up in New Hampshire.
Candy Crowley: You are in fact doing well in New Hampshire. But I wanted to ask you something, I wanted to show another poll that we have done, this is a CNN ORC poll, and the question is “Which Republican candidate has the best chance to beat President Obama. Mitt Romney got 40%, Newt Gingrich got 21%, Herman Cain was still in it when this poll came out, at 16%. You were down at 4% and this is a poll among Republicans. So there are Republicans in Iowa putting you in second place and yet only 4% of Republicans see you as the one best able to beat President Obama. Can you explain that to me?
Ron Paul: Well, if you’re starting to talk about the general election, that poll doesn’t mean very much. Even in the primary up in New Hampshire, the largest number of registered voters in New Hampshire are independent. But to go out and do a poll just on independents and put my name up against Obama, all of a sudden the dissent franchise and the people from the Left who are upset with the constant wars and the attack on our civil liberties are really down on the President. And they’re down on the economy. So I would bet you would get a completely different result. And you don’t win just with the hardcore Republican base, you have to have a candidate that’s going to appeal across the political spectrum. And I think with my views, that are quite different than the hard edges views that so many on the Republican side frequently are showing.
Candy Crowley: Well, in fact you’re right, it does take more than just Republicans – or for Democrats, just Democrats – to win a general election. But would you agree with the premise that when it comes down to that night in Iowa, and when it comes down to that primary night in New Hampshire, what Republicans most want, and they’re the ones who’re going to decide the nominee, is someone who can beat President Obama. And they rate so many people above you, and that’s why I think it’s important to talk about electability, because it is a factor in how people view you.
Ron Paul: You know, and I would say that if the people in Iowa wouldn’t consider me a good option to beat Obama, I wouldn’t be a close second. So it’s already reflecting a favorable rating for that. But I think you point, maybe you’ve given me subtly some good advice; you better keep working. And that is what we have to convince the primary voters about, that we can do a good job in the general [election]. And that, of course, is part of the campaign and I think that’s where we’re making progress.
Candy Crowley: Trust me, Congressman, you don’t want to take election advice from me, no matter what. Let me ask you about the departure of Herman Cain. This was a man with huge appeal to the Tea Party who does leave some voters in Iowa and elsewhere looking for another candidate. What is it in Ron Paul’s campaign that might attract a former Herman Cain supporter?
Ron Paul: Well, I think you mentioned the right word: the Tea Party people. Because actually the Tea Party was started during the last campaign four years ago with our campaign. It’s morphed into different things and it’s broad-based and it’s not monolithic, but there are a lot of people who call themselves Tea Party people that did like the independent-mindedness of Herman Cain. So I think we’ll probably do better, even though some people are saying, “Oh no, they’re all going to go to so-and-so”. But no, I think that we’re paying a lot of attention to that, because obviously they’re going to go somewhere in the next week or so. That’s going to happen. So I’m optimistic that we’ll pick up some votes from there.
Candy Crowley: I don’t know if you know, but you’re in a bit of tiff with Donald Trump at this point, who was told that you were not going to participate in a debate that he apparently is going to host. And he said, “Nobody takes him seriously, he’s a clown, etc, etc. I know you did not want to participate in the debate because you feel a similar way about Donald Trump. Do you think the Republican Party hurts itself by having a high-profile debate with Donald Trump as the moderator?
Ron Paul: Well, yea. And, of course, some of that debate was going on from one of the staffers, I’d like to take them on, but obviously he was representing me. But yes, I think they hurt themselves, but in the statement that I approved, it’s said that one of the concerns that I had was really how he was treating the Republican Party of Iowa. And he didn’t treat them well because he had agreed to come to their biggest fundraiser of the year because he was talking about running. When he changed his mind about running, he canceled on that, and they had to cancel the event, and that was a bit of an insult to them. So I’ve gotten a lot of good favorable responses from the people of Iowa, even the people in the party, who appreciated the fact that I mentioned that. Because they were very unhappy with the way he treated them by just stiffing them and walking away from it and they were left holding a bag.
Candy Crowley: What do you make of his popularity? He said, “My poll numbers when I was in were higher than Ron Paul’s”. Why do you think people like him? Newt Gingrich is going to this debate, others have said they’re going to go to the debate, but you don’t want to?
Ron Paul: Yea, I don’t quite understand it, I don’t understand the marching to his office. I didn’t know he had an ability to lay on hands and anoint people, but I have to just do my thing. Even earlier on at CPAC he volunteered the first attack on me, but evidently he probably doesn’t like my position on the Federal Reserve: no easy credit for the developers and investors. They like easy credit and they like the Federal Reserve and they like [getting] bailed out. So I don’t know, maybe deep down it’s philosophic. And, of course, his position on China was quite different. So I think it’s philosophic and probably his personality that doesn’t like to be challenged.
Candy Crowley: This week, the President has gotten a lot of good news that might be able to sort of pump up his campaign. Consumer confidence is up, new homes sales are up, construction spending is up, and unemployment is down. Do you think this helps his campaign? And it fits into what certainly the Obama re-elect people have told us, which is they just have to show people that the trajectory of the economy is going in the right direct. And certainly this week, they would way that it is.
Ron Paul: Oh, I think so, I think the headlines help him. Sometimes I think we overdo it, presidents get a lot of credit and a lot of blame, and sometimes they deserve neither. But I think the headlines help him, but when you go out and talk to the people, all of a sudden, the people I talk to aren’t that optimistic. And when you look at those unemployment figures, actually unemployment is still a serious problem. There are more people who have dropped out of the workforce than the people who got jobs. And if you use the old-fashioned way of measuring unemployment, the statistics are pretty bad. The tendency of the government, when it talks about unemployment or the CPI, the inflation rate, they fudge the figures if they’re not very favorable. And if you measure unemployment the way we used to measure, actually, and I believe these figures, the free market economist who measure it say we have a 22% unemployment rate when you add up everybody who doesn’t look for work or who are just partially employed or the people looking for jobs. So it is bad, the people know it, the sentiment is bad, and they also understand that their cost of living is going up and their standard of living is going down and there’s very little confidence out there. But, superficially and, of course, for a short time, maybe these headlines will give a little bump. But believe me, a bump from the very bottom on housing really doesn’t reassure that many people.
Candy Crowley: Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, thank you for joining us today.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Candy Crowley: And if you want more of Ron Paul, we want you to check out just in time for Christmas, the Ron Paul family cookbook.