John King: It is incentive that gives the Republican establishment heartburn, Ron Paul is in contention to win the Iowa caucus. That voting in Iowa is just two weeks from tonight, and Congressman Paul is looking to build his already strong base in that state with this new TV ad.
Voice: It’s the story of a lost city, lost opportunity, lost hope. A story of failed policies, failed leadership, a story of smooth talking politicians. Ron Paul, the one with a plan to cut a trillion dollars in year one, eliminate the waste, balance the budget. Ron Paul, the one you can trust, the one who will restore America, now.
John King: So, is Ron Paul the one? The Texas Congressman and presidential hopeful joins me today from Hampton, New Hampshire. Congressman, it’s good to see you. Iowa votes two weeks form tonight, and the establishment here in Washington, and the Republican establishment in Iowa, has the case of the jitters right now. I was just in Iowa last week, there are some people who think you have the possibility to win that state, and if not, they expect you to be very strong in the top two or three. I want you to listen to this editorial in the Des Moines Register just the other day: “The torpedoes are now in the water for Paul, and one of them is labeled, ‘A Paul win hurts the Iowa caucuses’… I’ve heard similar worries from GOP leaders in Iowa, who fear that Paul’s crazy train will haul the caucuses out to the political fringes and derail, forever stranding Iowa’s coveted status.” Why are they so worried about you?
Ron Paul: That’s sort of entertaining, that’s so much for democracy. As long as democracy goes their way, it’s okay. But if you get enough support from the people and you win elections, then it doesn’t mean anything. So I think they see me as a challenge to the status quo. There are a lot of people I challenge, everybody from the military-industrial complex to the banking system to the bail outs to our foreign policy. It’s a big deal because I want changes, but that’s what the American people want. The American people are with me, and that’s why I believe I’m going up in the polls.
John King: We’ve had this conversation a few times during the campaign, and it is fair to say that you are less “out there”, if you will, in this campaign, than you were in the last campaign. And you get amused by this and watching it in the debates. However, there’s still a question of whether, even if you perform well in Iowa, even if you win Iowa, can you grow to the point of being the Republican nominee. I ask in the context of this: we had a new national poll this week, and we asked Republican voters “Who would you vote for under no circumstances?” In other words, which Republican would you never support? You, sir, top that that list. 43% of Republicans said they could not support you under any circumstances. Does that number suggest that while you’re growing in popularity, you can’t grow enough to win the nomination?
Ron Paul: No, it doesn’t mean that, and those aren’t permanent numbers. But you might say, “What about the young people coming in to voting now, how do I do with them?” I do exceptionally well. What about independents? I do exceptionally well with independents. What about the willingness of the Democrat to vote for me versus the other ones? All of a sudden, there is the coalition. What surprises me is really that parties are supposed to try to build, and the Republican Party would like to build so they don’t have to fight for these elections all the time. So I have young people, I have independents and a lot of Democrats who come my way. Why wouldn’t they ask me a question like, “What is it they like about you, because we like to build our party? But they never do. What they want to do is say I never count, and lock me out and say, “Oh, if you were elected, it’s just a fluke, we don’t want your people in our party. We have a closed-knit party and if these new young energetic people come in, that’s bad for the party”. I don’t really understand that, so I don’t understand the rhetoric about building the party and then saying, “Well, we don’t want Ron Paul’s people coming in because they might take over the party”. Well, what if we have an influence and what if we believe in liberty and peace and prosperity and sound money; what’s so dangerous about that.
John King: Some of those young people … I was struck by it when I was in Iowa last week. It’s a lot like it was for President Obama back in 2008. They support you, not necessarily the party, it’s more personal than it is the party. A lot of them say if you don’t win the nomination, they would like you to run as an independent, as a third-party candidate. Would you rule that out, sir?
Ron Paul: Well, I have no intention of doing it because I’m concentrating on doing very well in these early primaries. So I don’t have plans to do that, it doesn’t even cross my mind as planning to do that.
John King: But you don’t say never?
Ron Paul: Well, I’m not an absolutist to say “nothing, I’ll never do this, I’ll never do that”. You know, when I left Congress a long time ago, I had no intentions of coming back. But if I would have said, “I’m never coming back to this place”, you know, 12 years passed and I ran again. But I had no intention of coming back when I left. So I don’t think it’s good to say I absolutely won’t do anything.
Ron Paul: If you look around the internet, because you are now rising in the polls, you are being taken more seriously. Not only by your rivals for the nomination, but a lot of things that have maybe come up in past campaigns are being regurgitated, just like they are for Speaker Gingrich, like they are for Governor Romney. And some of them are some pretty provocative and outrageous statements that have shown up in newsletters under your name over the years. And one that’s made its way around the internet from the Ron Paul Political Report back in 1992 was this: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.” I know you have said this is not you, this is someone writing in your name, but I want to give you an opportunity, because this is making the rounds. How do these things appear under your name?
Ron Paul: Everybody knows I didn’t write them, everybody knows what is my nature, everybody knows that is not my position. That was some 20 some years ago and that’s the best they can do and they have to discredit me on that rather than talking about the Federal Reserve and the foreign policy and the welfare and the debt. No, I was a publisher of a letter and they appeared, they shouldn’t have appeared. But, you know, it was just not me that wrote them and I have disavowed them. So you’d think after 20 some years … but nobody is going to believe that stuff. People who know me know it can’t possibly be true.
John King: Congressman Paul joining us tonight from New Hampshire. Sir, we appreciate your time.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
John King: Thank you.
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