Chris Wallace: A candidate who is at or near the top in most recent polls, Congressman Ron Paul, who comes to us from Clute, Texas. Congressman, happy New Year and welcome back to FOx News Sunday.
Ron Paul: Thank you, and the same to you, Chris.
Chris Wallace: Four years ago you were running for president and you got 10% of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. As we say, in the latest Des Moines Register poll, you’re at 22%. Why do you think you are getting so much more traction here in Iowa this time?
Ron Paul: Well, it isn’t because I’ve changed my message, because my message has been the same for 30 years, it’s the same as 4 years ago. But the world has changed, and the country has changed. I’ve talked about economic policies for a long time, I’ve warned about financial bubbles and the correction that was coming. And that has arrived, and people now are saying that the economy is a big deal, spending is a big deal, the debt is a big deal. This is what I’ve worked my whole career on trying to warn people about. But also in foreign policy, I get tremendous support on my position, about which the other candidates say “Oh, is dangerous”; believing in the constitution and that you shouldn’t go to war unless you declare the war. So this is kind of thing that people come around to. They’re tired of the wars. 70% of the American people want us out of Afghanistan, it’s bankrupting us. We spent 4 trillion dollars and went into debt in these last 10 years. And I’m deeply concerned about civil liberties. So these issues strike a chord with the people and I think that is the reason, more so now than even 4 years ago, but a lot more than maybe 20 or 30 years ago. Because right now the evidence is loud and clear that government is failing in what they pretend they’re going to do for us. And that’s why the people are looking for different answers.
Chris Wallace: On the other hand, Congressman, in the latest Des Moines Register poll in those final two days, it shows some evidence of a slide. In fact, Santorum passes you and you’ve fallen to third. What can you do about that slide, sir?
Ron Paul: Well, I think the die has been cast. The ups and downs of the other candidates have been characteristic, they come and they go and they all belong to the status quo. The one thing is, the people who make a commitment to the Campaign for Liberty and the constitutionally limited government and going after the Fed, once they put this all together on how liberty and free markets and a sound foreign policy come together, they don’t desert. So our numbers aren’t going to go down, the people are not going to leave us as they have on the other ones; they come and they go. So I think our numbers will continue to grow even in these last couple of days, and the caucuses are going to treat us well. But the real test is going to be on Tuesday night. So we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
Chris Wallace: Not surprisingly, Congressman, with your new strong standing in the polls, has come new scrutiny, especially about some newsletters that came out under your name in the 1980s and 1990s in which there were comments made that were, quite frankly, racist and homophobic. Now you say that you were the publisher of those newsletters, not the editor, and so you didn’t know everything that was in them. But I want to ask you about a book that you wrote back in 1987 called “Freedom Under Siege” and I want to ask about some of the comments in that. In that book you wrote this: “The individual suffering from AIDS certainly is a victim, frequently a victim of his own lifestyle, but the same individual victimizers innocent citizens by forcing them to pay for his care”. Question: Congressman, do you still feel that same way?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know how you can change science. I mean, sexually transmitted diseases are caused by sexual activity, and when it’s promiscuous, it spreads diseases. That’s been known for 4, 5 hundred years on how these diseases are spread. So if a fault comes of people because of their personal behavior, in a free society people do dumb things, but it isn’t to be placed as a burden on other innocent people. Why should they have to pay for consequences? That’s sort of a nationalistic or socialistic attitude. But in a free society, people are allowed to act the way they want, but they’re responsible for that. They should be rewarded …
Male News Anchor: Congressman, do you think that someone who suffers from AIDS should not be entitled to health insurance as opposed to, let’s say, somebody who has a heterosexually transmitted disease?
Ron Paul: No, I never said that, I’m just saying that people who …
Chris Wallace: But when you talk about how they victimize other people by making us pay for them, what do you mean, sir?
Ron Paul: Well, it depends on what the insurance company does, they’re the ones who determine that. But there shouldn’t be a law that says they’re denied that, there’s no way, I mean, the market should handle this. People who are pregnant for 9 months can’t go in and buy insurance, so insurance is supposed to be insurance. So, if people are smokers, don’t they have to pay more? Sometimes you get your insurance cheaper if you’re a non-smoker? That’s all I’m talking about, let the market sort this out and let insurance sort this out, but not having dictates by the government and saying, “Thou shall or though must do this”, and your behavior doesn’t matter. If you drink too much and you go out and you do harm to somebody, you have to suffer the consequences. It’s the same way with health matters. You don’t have a right to demand that somebody else take care of you because of your habits. But that doesn’t mean that that you don’t have laws …
Chris Wallace: Let me just interrupt you. I’m sorry, we have limited time and we want to get to the other two candidates as well. I want to ask you about one other thing that you wrote in your book back in 1987 about sexual harassment in the workplace. You wrote this about the victims of sexual harrassment: “Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how come the harassee escapes some responsibility for the problem?” You said that sexual harassment should not be a violation of someone’s employment rights.
Ron Paul: Well, the whole thing is, you have to get a better definition of sexual harassment. If it’s just because somebody told a joke and somebody was offended, they don’t have a right to go to the federal government and have a policeman come in and put penalties on those individuals. They have to say, “Maybe this is not a very good environment” and they have the right to work there or not work there. But if sexual harassment involves violence, as libertarians, we are very opposed to any violence. So if there’s any violence involved, you still don’t need a federal law against harassment, you just need to call the policeman and say there’s been an assault or there’s been at attempt at rape or something. So you have to separate those two out. But because people are insulted by rude behavior, I don’t think we should make a federal case out of it, I don’t think we need federal laws to deal with that. And people should deal with that at home.
Chris Wallace: Congressman, you have an ambitious, a very ambitious agenda as what you would do as President. You say you could cut 1 trillion dollars in spending in the first year, you say you would shut down five cabinet-level departments. But I want to look at your record of effectiveness as a member of Congress for more than 20 years. The Washington Post found that you have sponsored 620 measures over your years in Congress, just 4 made it to the House Floor for a vote, and only one of those 620 measures was signed into law, to sell the Galveston Custom House to a historical society. With that record, why are you suddenly going to become so effective as a President?
Ron Paul: Well, you just made my point, and the American people are sick and tired of Washington. And the people who have been in charge have been passing all those bills and I’ve been voting ‘no’ all the time and I voted ‘no’ against all these appropriation bills. So I am the individual that has pointed this out, and now the people are saying, “The government doesn’t work, the debt is too big and it doesn’t work”. But the country has to change. To elect me, the country has to change, they have to go back to believing in the constitution and personal liberties and a different foreign policy, which means the Congress will change. But just the fact that you can elect a President like myself, the pressure then is on the current Congress, because Congress doesn’t have strong beliefs. And as long as the pressure from the people is in the right direction, and this is where our campaign is excelling, whether it’s the Tea Party Movement or the disgust among American people. They’re sick and tired of all this, so I represent that. So, of course, why would they pass my laws, I wanted to stop this a long time ago, that’s what I went to Washington for. But the tide has changed, now the opportunity is there, and now I’m a serious contender. So this is why there’s optimism in our camp and so much excitement.
Chris Wallace: Congressman, we have about less than 30 seconds left, I want to ask you one final question. You and Congresswoman Bachmann, who is about to be on, got quite into a flap this week when her state chair, State Senator Kent Sorenson, jumped ship from her campaign to your campaign. She alleges that he said that your campaign was paying him to jump ship. Simple question: did your campaign or anyone connected with your campaign or anyone speaking on your behalf of it or any third party vendor offer money to Ken Sorenson to come on board your campaign?
Ron Paul: No, and if she has the evidence, she should bring it forth, because if she makes charges like that, she should be able to defend it. But no, that did not happen.
Chris Wallace: Well, she’s going to get an opportunity right now. Congressman Paul, we want to thank you so much for talking with us today. Happy New Year again, we’ll see you back here in Iowa. Thank you, sir.
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