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Neil Cavuto: You know, it might be a little too soon to rule out Ron, even though many in the mainstream media tend to keep doing so, because if these latest polls mean anything, Ron Paul is still topping in Iowa. He’s almost topping, he’s beating out Mitt Romney among the caucus-goers; more proof that Ron Paul is anything but a goner. The Republican Texas congressman, Ron Paul, is on the phone with us right now.
Congressman, it’s good to have you.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Neil, it’s nice to be with you.
Neil Cavuto: You did very well on the debate last night. By the way, on these debates, do you tire of them? I know Fox has a big one, I’ll be involved in that one, so I hope the answer is no, you don’t tire of them. But do they get to be a little grueling or what?
Ron Paul: Oh yea, sometimes you stand for a couple of hours, but maybe talk for 7 minutes. I much more prefer an interview, a serious interview where the interviewer can follow up and you can follow up and explain things. So the setting is not good, and the standing around like that is not the best way to get information out. But I don’t think there’s any other choice, I don’t think any one individual really enjoys it, but you don’t have any choice. If you drop out and you say, “I’m not going to come”, that would be very bad politically. But it’s far from an ideal setting for the kind of discussing that I would like to have.
Neil Cavuto: Well, you do speak your mind, Congressman, and that gets your opponents jumping on you for how far you can carry, let’s say, the Libertarian argument of no intervention in any foreign conflicts, or what have you. But whatever they say, at least when Iowans were being polled, they like what they’re hearing. Do you think that it’s necessary for you to win Iowa, that that’s the best chance for you to state your case, and that placing third or fourth would not be good?
Ron Paul: No, I think fourth or fifth would be very bad and it would be very discouraging because we’ve invested a lot of time and we’re doing well, so something would have to happen to knock us down that low. I don’t work with the assumption that first is absolutely necessary and that we’re on the verge of getting it, because it’s going to be tough, even though that’s a possibility. Second would be very good, and that would give us a little bit of momentum; third is a question mark. But that’s an honest assessment from me, so time will tell. But the one thing about Iowa is we’re getting people determined, they keep talking about, “How do you get people to go out in Iowa when it’s 10 degrees below zero and when the wind’s blowing and it’s snowing?”, and most people give us credit that our supporters will probably be the most energetic in getting out, so I think our support is more solid than the others.
Neil Cavuto: Well, they do come out to vote, that’s for sure. Congressman, looking at the folks who you were up on that stage with last night, could you support any one of them as the nominee?
Ron Paul: I’d have trouble with what I heard last night, because it’s almost the opposite of the defense of liberty that I’m talking about. I mean, the Republican Party is supposed to be a party of defining small government. But when it came to civil liberties, the PATRIOT Act, invasion of privacy, the 4th amendment, in all these things they wanted more government. And, of course, it’s traditional that they would never back off on anything military, even though the Republican Parties had a tradition like this. Certainly now it is the perception that you have to be more militant than the next guy. But you don’t know how they evolve, sometimes they change their position. I’d have to be convinced that their position is changed, but from what I hear now, I think it’d be very difficult for me to get very enthusiastic about any of them. I think time will tell, and who knows what will evolve.
Neil Cavuto: Alright, so a good many of them were arguing with your stance on a whole host of issues. That’s normally the case, but there was a bit pile-on, and I’m sure you’re used to that. It raises this question again: if they have concerns about you and you have concerns about them, and that you might not support a number of them if they were the party nominee, would you ever run as a third-party candidate?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t like to talk in absolutes, so I don’t talk in absolutes, but the odds of that happening are so slim, that it’s very close to an answer no.
Neil Cavuto: Perry was here, Congressman, and he unequivocally said, “Absolutely not, that would damage my party, I wouldn’t do it”. He said he would support any one of the other candidates, including you, should you become the nominee.
Ron Paul: Yea, my trouble is I guess I can be accused of less loyalty to political parties than others, I think political parties are vehicles. And what you believe in and your oath of office and what the principles are of the constitution, the Bill of Rights has a higher priority for me. So I put loyalty to the party down. In Washington, when there’s a tight vote and the whip comes around and they want you to change the vote, the ultimate test is, “Are you or aren’t you going to be a team player?” That has nothing to do with what you believe in or your oath of office, but the question is, “Will you be a team player?” So I’ve never enjoyed that type of conversation. One time Ronald Reagan asked me to change my vote, and I explained to him, “I had promised in the campaign to vote a certain way, and I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t be able to do it”. He was very, very respectful and understood it and he didn’t try to intimidate me in any way. So I think that’s the way it should be, but unfortunately, the loyalty to the party should be secondary to loyalty to your oath of office.
Neil Cavuto: The argument before that I was raising with Governor Perry, sir, was this: whatever his differences with the other candidates – including you, I guess, by extension – the far worse alternative would be Barack Obama. So that was where he was coming from, what do you think?
Ron Paul: Well, I think the rhetoric is different between the two, but if you look at history, Barack Obama has not been loyal to his base, he’s trying to neutralize the Republicans by being more militant. And he’s really gotten the Republicans in a box because now that’s why they’re talking more militant, because he’s showing that boy, he is tough and he’s going to create this wars and he’s going to be a tough guy. So it goes back and forth. And what they say and what they do are so different, because when we, the Republicans, get in office and say, “We’re the fiscal conservatives”, we don’t do anything about balancing the budget, we give them “No child left behind” and prescription drug programs. This is what the people are so tired of, you know, people see through this, so it’s not so much that I’m alone. I feel that although last night probably a third of the crowd was with me, but I think a lot more than a third of the country is with me. Because when I go around the country and talk this way, whether it’s the young or the elderly, they’re starting to understand exactly what I’m saying.
Neil Cavuto: Ron Paul, it’s always a pleasure, have a good thanksgiving.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Neil.
Neil Cavuto: Congressman Ron Paul.