On the eve of two critical debates and the vital New Hampshire Primary, Ron Paul takes time to chat with Newsmax. “If we have learned anything in this cycle it is that the whole race can change quickly,” says the upbeat candidate, who refuses to back off his signature credo that it’s time to “stop policing the world and start defending this country.”
How do you feel going into the New Hampshire Primary?
I feel good. I feel optimistic about America and especially hopeful about the next generation. As you know we have a lot of young people in our campaign and they are well informed and aware of the financial danger in this country. That bodes well for all of us. If we know the problem and do the right thing, we can eventually get out of this. So I am very encouraged by that.
Yes, but are you going to win the nomination? What do you say to those who believe you can’t win?
We can still win. It hasn’t been decided. And if we have learned anything in this cycle it is that the whole race can change quickly. I think we are going to do very well. We had a three way tie for delegates in Iowa. The important thing is that I have challenged the status quo, the corruption in Washington, and as a doctor I know that the patient, in this case the country, is responding and now has a good chance of recovery. This is very, very pleasing to me.
The attacks on you have been pretty bitter. Does that rankle?
Well, sure I am human. But if I am attacked for something I believe it doesn’t bother me. That’s why I make sure my own advertising is based on truth, comparison advertising, pointing out the differences on positions and issues. We are very careful not to say something about someone else that isn’t true.
There is one very serious charge going unanswered. Bachman said it daily and now Gingrich is saying it every day at every stop. He says, “Ron Paul would wait until an American city is destroyed by a nuclear weapon before he would respond.”
Oh, that is totally false. And further it is an insult to people’s intelligence. Of course, we would defend ourselves. We would never let it get to that point.
The fact is that to remain strong we must stop policing the world and start defending this country. The Soviet Union collapsed not because someone pointed a nuclear missile at them but because they over extended themselves.
Thomas Jefferson said that the more you use power the less you have.
I often say that we must stop policing the boarder of Afghanistan and Pakistan and start taking care of our own border with Mexico.
And yet your opponents, both on the campaign and in the media, portray this as an extreme view. They are especially concerned that you are not tough enough on Iran.
Well, I make it clear that I don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons. Frankly, I don’t want North Korea to have them either. But neither do I want a needless war. We cannot afford to go to war without a clear reason and a clear threat or else these endless wars become, themselves, the source of our own defeat. I notice that the Israeli Chief of Mossad, Tamir Pardo, addressed a meeting of Israeli ambassadors in Jerusalem just a few days ago saying that Israel’s existence is not inevitably endangered by Iran acquiring an atomic weapon. Surely, we should consider what the Israelis themselves say.
How do you feel about being such a target? You are called a pacifist or an isolationist.
Just keep in mind, when we take the stage at the next debate I will have more donors among the active military service than all of the other candidates combined. Among my supporters is Michael Scheuer, the man who headed up the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit.
People who understand the cost of war, are much more careful about rushing into it. And while all of the candidates talk big about wanting to have another war, only two of us, Rick Perry and myself, have been in uniform. The others are quick to send young people to die but they all carefully avoided military service themselves.
And yet they say you are “dangerous.”
There is nothing dangerous about the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing dangerous about taking the issue of war or peace to the Congress and letting them debate it. If Congress has lost that power to decide war, then what are they for? What is more important than that? It means we will have replaced Congress with televisions pundits.
We should not so casually abandon the U.S. Constitution. It is a great document that has guided our country for two hundred years.