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Megyn Kelly: Tonight is the big Fox News debate, and a lot of eyes are on Ron Paul. He is making a big push to win over caucus-goers here in Iowa, his campaign events here are packing in some of the biggest crowds. Polls show he is in the running right now to take the top spot on January 3rd. And Congressman Ron Paul joins me live, right here.
Congressman, it’s a pleasure, thank you so much for being here.
Ron Paul: Thank you, thanks for having me.
Megyn Kelly: How are you doing it, because these folks showing up at your rallies are not just older folks or younger folks, it’s a mix, you seem to have energized folks across the continuum.
Ron Paul: I don’t know exactly what has happened, because I’ve been saying the same thing for 30 years. But all of a sudden there’s a lot of excitement. I think it’s the conditions of the country and the conditions of the world, because my policies have always been the same, I’ve been saying the same thing. But there’s a lot more enthusiasm. But I think, sadly, it might represent how bad off we are in this country; the economy is in shambles, and I talked about that and warned about it. And I’ve wanted a different foreign policy because I was always afraid we’d get bogged down. I thought we went to war too carelessly. And the American people now, statistically, are with me on these things. They want the Federal Reserve audited, they want our troops to come home, and they don’t like going into wars carelessly. So I think the issues have come around. But also, the enthusiasm is building, the money is coming in easier, we have more volunteers, we have a better staff now than we did before. So it’s all coming together, and we feel pretty good about it.
Megyn Kelly: Obviously, the support is [gaining] up behind you, and particularly here in Iowa. But you mentioned foreign policy, that has been a big question mark about you and your campaign. And folks talk about, in particular, your stance on Israel and how you say you’re not going to step in if Iran gets the nuke, and Israel is on its own. And you know that is a [problem] to many conservatives.
Ron Paul: Yea, it’s interesting you say that that’s the problem, and I said that is my asset, because when I go around the country, when I go to the campuses, this is where I get the loudest applause. They’re tired of it. 65% of the American people want us to come home from Afghanistan (even higher than that). So I would say that it’s not a problem, I’m not denying the fact that there’re still a lot of people in the Republican Party who are much more anxious to go to war than I am. But all I’m doing is defending the conservative constitutional position that you go to war infrequently and when you do it, you do it deliberately under proper authority, which is a declaration of war, and you fight these wars and you get them over with. So I don’t think that’s an unpopular position, and I think the Republicans are now very frustrated, especially now because the foreign policy is being run by Obama, and it’s a lot easier to attack his foreign policy.
Megyn Kelly: When you talk about Obama, foreign policy, and how bad things are in the country right now, do you think that any of those GOP candidates who are going to be on the stage tonight could beat President Obama?
Ron Paul: Oh yea, I think all of us would have a very, very good chance, because the country is very down on it. And, in some ways, I see this a little differently in a different perspective. Because I don’t see Obama as the problem, I see our problems as monetary system, deficits been run up, economic policies of the last 40 years, Republicans and Democrats have been in charge all that time. When we Republicans have been in charge, we didn’t do such a great job, and that’s why the independent movement is so strong, that’s why there’s a Tea Party Movement and an Occupy Movement because of this frustration. So Obama hasn’t done anything to help, but he’s correct when he says he did not create this monster. The seeds for this monster were sown in 1971 when we delinked our dollar from any restraint by a gold standard, and that meant we could spent endlessly, run up deficits endlessly, print money endlessly. But there’s always an end point, and what the American people have to wake up and realize is, we’re at that endpoint now, and if we don’t admit that, we can’t solve our problems.
Megyn Kelly: The race has been very interesting to watch as an outsider, somebody in the media, and here in Iowa in particular because you get deluged with ads. It’s not so in New York City, I can tell you that, but here in Iowa, yes. And one ad we see over and over is an ad that you’re behind that’s going after Newt Gingrich – we have a little bit of it for the audience to watch – in which you accuse him of hypocrisy. Let’s take a look.
Voice: Everything that Gingrich rallied against when he was in the House, he went the other way when he got paid to go the other way.
He’s demonstrating himself to be the very essence of the Washington insider.
It’s about serial hypocrisy.
Megyn Kelly: Now, do you mean that? You’re telling me that you think any of the Republicans could win, including, I presume, Newt Gingrich. Did you really mean that?
Ron Paul: Yea, I think the country is so bad off right now with the conditions, they want a change. So if the Republicans offer change, yes, I think everyone of them would have an opportunity.
Megyn Kelly: But that’s a tough ad against your fellow Republican.
Ron Paul: Yea, I even forgot to put one in there, because I think …
Megyn Kelly: But some people think that’s mean, Iowans don’t like negative campaigning, and that’s a negative campaign ad.
Ron Paul: No, I think there’s a difference. Negative campaigning is calling people names, demagoguign issues, and misrepresenting people’s views. But to point out different positions, that’s my responsibility.
Megyn Kelly: Hypocrisy, though? Did you go too far?
Ron Paul: I think when you flip-flop around … you know, there was one other issue that I personally found annoying, which is that he’s probably as aggressive with the military as anybody. He supports all the wars in the Middle East a thousand times more than I would. But in the 1960s, when I was drafted in the military, he got several deferments, he chose not to go. Now he’ll send our kids to war, but at that time he said, “One person wouldn’t make a difference”, he didn’t know how he could make a difference. So I see that as important information and people should know that, and it reflects on him.
Megyn Kelly: We’re up against a hard break, but I want to ask you very quickly: what’s your plan for tonight?
Ron Paul: Tell the truth.
Megyn Kelly: You’re going to be good old Ron Paul.
Ron Paul: Tell the truth, and that’s the easy way they never accuse me of flip-flopping.
Megyn Kelly: Congressman, thank you so much, all of us will see you in a few hours.