Saying he will decide in the next month whether to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, spoke to the Tallahassee media Thursday during his visit to the capital to promote his new book, "Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom."
Paul was a Libertarian candidate in 1988. He came in second in 10 GOP primaries and caucuses and placed third in 17 of them in 2008. He said he will consider running and reveal his decision in the next month.
I dont have any precise plans, said Paul, referring to a possible timetable to launch a presidential bid.
He downplayed talk that his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, will run for the Republican nomination, saying the media have blown that out of proportion.
Sunshine State News asked the Texas congressman if the announcement made earlier in the day by former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who endorsed Paul in 2008, impacted his plans to seek the Republican nomination. Probably not, replied Paul. It seems like he is making his own decision and Ill make my own.
Paul said President Barack Obama is vulnerable in his re-election bid and a disappointment to many of his supporters who were looking to end American involvement overseas. Paul also called out the president on civil rights.
"I think his record in protecting civil liberties has been very poor, said Paul. He backed off on how prisoners would be treated in Guantanamo."
Asked if he has any interest in the U.S. Senate seat in Texas currently held by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Paul showed little enthusiasm for entering that race. Its not going to be one of the things I do in life.
Paul praised the concept of nullification in which a state can nullify federal laws and he maintains that Thomas Jefferson backed the concept in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. He noted that nullification can be used for states looking to defend medical marijuana laws from the federal government.
I think (nullification) is a very good idea. I dont like big, national government.
The Texas congressman took aim at American foreign policy, arguing that military actions abroad have helped bankrupt the federal government and that the U.S. should end all foreign aid.
Thats a major reason why were bankrupt --foreign policy out of control, insists Paul.
Paul also spoke out against embargos with Cuba and Afghanistan. I believe in free trade. If we trade with people, we wont fight with them.
The Texas congressman contrasted himself to other politicians in Washington. Some people who say they are the biggest free traders are the first to say embargo, Paul insisted.
I think if we didnt have this embargo with Cuba, Fidel Castro wouldnt be there anymore, Paul added. History shows youre more likely to get rid of a dictator if you undermine his support by trading with him."
Paul also expressed his displeasure with the federal budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. I didnt vote for it, Paul noted. Nothing they have up there would cut spending this year from last year.
Mulling over the fiscal solutions proposed by his fellow Republicans, Paul insists their solution will do nothing to help reduce the national debt or deficits.
They havent come very close to tackling the problem, said Paul about congressional Republicans. Its not a budget problem, its a problem with deciding what the role of government should be.
He said he has no firm opinions of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is running for a third term in 2012, or the field of Republican candidates looking to take him on.
Toward the end of his remarks, Paul talked about the tea party movement and how it is putting new issues --such as examining the Federal Reserve --on the table and is looking to join his call for reducing American military involvement overseas.
These are the kinds of issues that are vital to the tea party people, said Paul, before heading off to give a speech at Florida State. I think it is very significant that people are moving in this direction.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org and reach Gray Rohrer at email@example.com or both at (850) 727-0859.