Posted: October 12, 2007 3:26 PM
Paul Gives Constitution First Billing in NewsHour Interview
Rep. Ron Paul sat down with the NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff Thursday for an in-depth interview to be aired Friday about the Texas congressman’s popularity with young people, his libertarian ideas and his plan for America.
Paul repeatedly linked his position that U.S. soldiers should immediately come home from Iraq to his view that the size of the federal government should be reduced dramatically.
Under a Paul administration, the United States would remove its forces from around the country and use the military only to defend U.S. borders. This would include effectively eliminating the Central Intelligence Agency, which Paul blamed for installing dictators and starting America’s problems in the Middle East.
The self-declared Republican constitutionalist criticized the United States for supporting a “puppet government” in Saudi Arabia and helping to incite radical Muslims against America.
Paul compared American interventionist foreign policy and fiscal policy to the doomed Soviet Union, arguing that an overextended nation, or empire, will crumble violently. By following the Constitution, Paul said, the United States can save itself from financial ruin.
“Empires end badly because they are too expensive,” he said.
As President, Paul said he would strictly adhere to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which reserves to Congress the right to declare war.
“I don’t accept the notion that we can police the world,” he told Woodruff.
In a recent NBC Republican debate in Michigan, Paul sparred with front runner former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the issue, challenging the notion that the U.S. can attack nations in response to the “19 thugs” who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Paul also spoke about domestic issues, laying out a vision of America where the most contentious issues would be hashed out by local governments, not the federal government.
For example, the federal government should have no role in regulating abortion or school prayer Paul said, arguing that local communities should be able to decide those difficult issues on their own.
Furthermore, Paul said that schools, airplanes and chemical plants should provide for their own private security instead of relying on the government for those services.
On the campaign trail, Paul remains a paradox. USA Today reports that while Paul has never polled above 4 percent in a national poll, he raised five times the campaign donations as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who placed second in the Iowa straw poll.
Paul’s $5.1 million in Internet-fueled cash put his campaign bank account ahead of Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Paul explained his popularity with young people and his ability to raise impressive campaign funds as a response to a failed government. His message of freedom, Paul told Woodruff, is very popular with young people who are disillusioned with the federal government.
As the Republican primary inches closer, it looks like Paul will either have to pull off a mythical comeback or sit out the race. Paul communications director Jesse Benton confirmed that if Paul is not the Republican candidate in early 2008, he will not run as a third party candidate. Benton said that the cost of competing as a third party candidate will be too great for Paul to pull off.
In the NBC debate, Paul also said that he would not endorse any other Republican candidate for president who did not support a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
“No, I’m not going to support them if they continue down the path that has taken our party down the tubes,” Paul said of his fellow Republicans during the debate. “I mean, we’ve lost credibility because of all our spending, because we have violated the civil liberties of all the American people, and we have adopted the Democrats’ foreign policy.”