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Paul Envisions Smaller Government, Less Global Intervention

As part of an ongoing series of in-depth interviews with presidential candidates, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, explains his vision of limited government, decreased U.S. intervention in conflicts abroad and details his stance as an anti-war Republican.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Congressman Ron Paul, thank you for being with us.

  • REP. RON PAUL (R), Texas:

    Thank you for having me.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    You are somewhat of a sensation among young people in this country. They are — you’ve broken all records for Web searches. You’re on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, I guess more than just about any other candidate. With all due respect…

  • REP. RON PAUL:

    Be nice.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    … you’re 72 years old, how do you explain it?

  • REP. RON PAUL:

    Young ideas, a fantastic idea about individual freedom and allowing people to do what they want and take care of their lives, their lives belong to them, and get the government off their backs, and offer them low taxes, and make sure I never mess around with the Internet. Don’t tax the Internet, and don’t regulate the Internet.

    You know, freedom is a very popular idea, and young people love it, and they’re open to ideas. And they like principled answers to our problems.

    And older people seem to be stereotyped. You know, they get set in their ways, and they’re not as open to the ideas of freedom, yet, to me, freedom is a relatively new idea. It was an experiment, you know, with our country, but we have forgotten about it, and I’m reminding them about this great experiment of freedom, and they love it. And I am just so delighted when I see the young people coming.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    They also seem to be attracted, among other things, to your position on the war in Iraq. You want to get U.S. troops out of there, not just get them out, but get them out as soon as possible. You’re the only Republican running who has that position.

    Do you ever think there’s something strange about the fact that you’re the only member of your party running for president with that position?

  • REP. RON PAUL:

    Yes, I wonder where they’ve gone, because just think how much benefit the Republicans have had on the position I hold now. Just think, I remember in the early years when I was voting, Eisenhower was popular, stopped the war in Korea. Nixon wanted essentially to get the Vietnam War over, didn’t do a very good job, but that was why he was elected.

    George Bush ran on my platform. I’m running on his platform, you know, a humble foreign policy, no nation-building, don’t police the world. So I think they have forgotten their roots, and they’re hurting for it. I don’t know why they turn against these views that I’m expressing, which are Republican views.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But how do you explain it? It puts you in the distinct minority in the Republican Party. In all fairness, we should point out you’re a libertarian, as well. And what does that mean?

  • REP. RON PAUL:

    Well, I see myself as a Republican, the old right position. I’m a strict constitutionalist. But that means that you’re a libertarian if you believe in the Constitution.

    But the old right, the Robert Taft, you know, policies were similar to mine. And that’s very Republican. So I don’t think this should be strange to the Republican position.

    As a matter of fact, I think that’s why we’re getting so much support. I mean, just the other day, after the debates the other night, we went to the University of Michigan. We had 2,000 people show up. So I think it’s a very popular viewpoint for Republicans.

    And they love the idea that you can be conservative and still be against the war and still be for civil liberties, and then also for free markets and balanced budgets. So this is a very Republican message.

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