Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An hour with the (next) President

Paul: Supporters buying into stance on Iraq


Telegraph Staff
NASHUA – Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said his opposition to the Iraq war, his strict adherence to the Constitution and calls to change the monetary standard all fueled his GOP fundraising record via the Internet.

"I think the attention-getter is the war because it's a big issue, but I think that prompts a lot of people to go look at our Web site and say, 'Oh, I agree with these other issues,' " Paul said during an interview with The Telegraph editorial board on Wednesday.

The 72-year-old, soft-spoken Texas congressman already had a legendary individual donor base, the third largest in Congress as far back as 1994.

"I have always done my fundraising by direct mail. I have never been able to call people up and say, 'hey, send me some money,' and I don't deal with the special interests," Paul said.

"Do you realize how many mailings you would have to send out to get 20,000 new people? Many, many pieces of mail, hundreds of thousands of dollars and yet, this money all came in for free. All of the sudden they found us, sent money and are on our list. It's sort of like on autopilot now."

Despite the newfound largesse, Paul is mired in single digits in New Hampshire and national polls. But he insists a surprise showing in the first-in-the-nation primary is possible even though he's campaigned here less than better-known candidates.

He shrugs off criticism that his Iraq war opposition is a losing issue with a GOP base who, by a clear majority, want to finish the job of helping that country form a power-sharing government among secular factions.

"They say I'm anti-military, but who has the most contributors of any candidate, Democrat or Republican, from our fighting men and women? I do," said Paul, an Air Force surgeon during the Vietnam War era.

Paul was the only Republican in Congress to oppose the Iraq war in 2002.

If elected, Paul would withdraw all American troops from Iraq and opposes spending any more foreign or domestic aid to rebuild the country.

"They are a rich country, they have oil, and that's how it should be paid for," Paul said.

"We have to give up the principle of blowing things up around the world, as well as rebuilding. The sooner we do that, the sooner we can get back to fiscal sanity."

The threat of Iran developing a nuclear weapon has been overblown, and their chances of using one are "slim to none," he said.

"We either subsidize people or we bomb them. Why not try another option?" Paul asked. "We shouldn't get hysterical that in 10 years or more they might have a nuclear weapon."

Paul voted to authorize force against the Taliban in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but said Bush turned it into a nation-building exercise.

To confront terrorists bent on violence against the U.S., Paul would pursue a "marque and reprisal" provision used by the Founding Fathers to empower private individuals to bring pirates to justice using legal means.

"I would place a lot more confidence in a Ross Perot approach to going after a band of individuals who orchestrated that against us," Paul said.

At least $200 billion a year would be saved by getting out of Iraq and cutting back on U.S. foreign intervention in 130 countries, Paul said.

Even taxpayer-paid humanitarian aid to treat the genocide in Darfur is not a wise course, he added.

"There is not much evidence that much of this is successful, some of it has been, but we are also broke," Paul said.

"If the government got out of it, private individuals would come forward. The American people are very generous."

Paul claims he's voted against any increase in taxes during his 19 years in Congress and against more than 90 percent of federal spending bills.

He would focus first on cutting foreign aid before pursuing a desire to get rid of wholesale, federal agencies like the Departments of Education, Internal Revenue Service and Federal Reserve.

"In spite of the fact philosophically I don't support the programs, they should never have been started and it is part of the problem, but it is not part of the early answer," Paul said.

A gynecologist who's delivered 4,000 babies, Paul opposes legal abortions, but believes states should be left to make restrictions on the procedure and is against a constitutional ban.

Paul said anti-abortion leaders ignored his call to claim federal courts have no jurisdiction as when the Supreme Court overturned a congressional ban on late-term abortions.

And Paul said the practice of printing more money has made the U.S. a record debtor nation, and he would reinstitute gold and silver as alternatives to paper currency.

"History shows that paper never lasts. It ends terribly," Paul said.
PARTY: Republican.
BIRTH DATE: Aug. 20, 1935.
RESIDENCE: Surfside Beach, Texas.
EXPERIENCE: U.S. House of Representatives, 1997-present, 1979-1985 and 1976-1977; current member of House Committee on Financial Services and House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
EDUCATION: M.D. from Duke University; bachelor’s degree, Gettysburg College.
MILITARY: Flight Surgeon, U.S. Air Force, 1963-1965; Air National Guard, 1965-1968.
PERSONAL: Wife, Carol; five children; 17 grandchildren.
CANDIDATE WEB SITE: www.ronpaul2008.com.

Here are opinions of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas on major issues.

IRAQ WAR: Only Republican member of Congress to vote against war in 2002 and would withdraw all U.S. troops in three to six months.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: Supports strengthening borders with more federal patrols and enforcing laws against employers who hire illegal aliens. Opposes guest worker or any form of amnesty to the 12 million people who got here illegally.

HEALTH CARE: Supports free market solutions such as health savings accounts and transitioning a refundable tax credit so more families can afford health-care coverage; voted to let citizens buy and bring cheaper drugs from Canada into the U.S.

EDUCATION: Voted against No Child Left Behind; supports $3,000 tax credit for families who participate in school choice. Opposes school vouchers as philosophically that means other taxpayers are subsidizing another family’s schooling. He supports home schooling.

FEDERAL BUDGET/TAXES: During 19-year congressional career, Paul said he’s never voted for a bill to raise taxes and voted against most federal budget spending bills. Would dismantle the Internal Revenue Service, repeal the federal income tax and is open to a national sales tax in its place, but only if the Congress made deep cuts in federal spending first.

ABORTION: Has an anti-abortion voting record, but opposes a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and instead favors letting states restrict the procedure as they see fit. Urges supporters to contend the federal judiciary that outlaws abortion restrictions lacks jurisdiction to take up the issue.

GLOBAL WARMING: Restrictions on pollution should be done at the state rather than federal level. He favors federal tax credits for research of alternative energy sources and says expansion of nuclear power is a “safe, clean” way to cut back use of fossil fuels.

GAY MARRIAGE: Would let the states set restrictions on marriage and voted against federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2004. Says marriage is a religious institution, but would not oppose states issuing licenses that recognized the union of same-sex partners.

STEM-CELL RESEARCH FUNDING: Supports expansion of research, but opposes federal funding for it.

Original article posted here.

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