This is a reprint of the transcript of Wolf Blitzer <insert favorite adjective here> and Ron Paul interview. A couple of things I found really interesting about this interview. Rosa Parks, I thought it interesting that Paul wanted to pass the hat for her medal but NO other politician would pony up unless the tax payers paid for it. Those are your other choices Black America I hope you have the heart to call them on it.
Secondly, I find it EXTREMELY interesting that the Troops feel Ron Paul is the best candidate for the Job. Even they think it’s time to come home from this war.
Let’s go to Capitol Hill right now. The Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is joining us.
Congressman, I can only say congratulations. It’s really an unbelievable thing that you’ve achieved right now. First of all, how do you attribute it — what do you attribute to this amazing financial support within 24 hours?
REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it is amazing and I don’t claim a whole lot of credit for it. I think we have a very good platform that’s very appealing to the people who care about what’s happening in the country. I think we’re also tapping into the sense of frustration that people are feeling.
I think it’s much more intense than anybody realized. Probably more intense than I had expected. So it’s coming together and people have rallied around it.
But I think it’s a strong message, strong (INAUDIBLE) of what is happening here in this country. I happened to being there, and the grassroots have really put this together. So it’s a grassroots effort, and I think that makes it even stronger.
BLITZER: In our latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, among registered republicans nationwide you have gone up to five percent, but you’re still way behind the top tier.
How do you plan on using the new cash to try to challenge Giuliani, Thompson, McCain, Romney, some of the others?
PAUL: Well, the money was sent to us to be spent, and we will be spending it. We’ve started to do that. We’re buying television in the early primaries, we’re doing a lot of direct mail. We’re on the radio. And we’re hiring a few more people.
I know the other campaigns have had huge staffs, but I think they waste a lot of their money. But now we are getting more reasonable staffing positions. And we’re spending the money in many ways in an ordinary way, but we will continue with this grassroots effort that has been going on, that’s been ongoing here on the Internet.
BLITZER: Are you going to support Nancy Pelosi’s new effort to have some partial funding for the war, $50 billion stop gap to underscore her opposition, a lot of Democrats’ opposition to the war and trying to get a timeline in there? Are you going to support that?
PAUL: No, not really, because I think that’s ducking the issue. As long as you’re funding the war you’re supporting the war, and it’s been going on for all the years. I didn’t support it before the war, and I haven’t supported any money for the war.
I support the troops. The troops should come home. And amazingly, I get more money from the troops than any other candidate. So…
BLITZER: Let me interrupt you, Congressman. If you support the troops, the administration argues, how can you not give them the funding they need for the body armor, the weapons they need to protect themselves?
PAUL: Well, we have $500 billion, $600 billion in the pipeline. We have all the money we need to bring the troops home. And that’s the best way to protect the troops.
They’re not going to run out of money. The money is there. This is all fluff for expanding the war and playing on war, going into Iran, all these things. So there’s no shortage of funds to get the troops out, believe me.
BLITZER: All the other Republican candidates not only support the funding, but they are basically with the president on this surge, this strategy that he’s using now in Iraq. Let’s say Rudy Giuliani gets the Republican nomination. Could you support him as the Republican nominee?
PAUL: Well, I’ve been asked that question a lot. And I can’t support a candidate that has — will contradict everything I’ve stood for for 30 years. The supporters I have couldn’t make any sense out of that. So, you know, if they change their policy and say that they are now supporting bringing the troops home and ending the war, which on occasion,
you know, politicians do change their mind, then I would reconsider. But the odds of that happening are pretty slim.
BLITZER: So what happens then — let’s say — and obviously you want to get the republican nomination, and you don’t get it, but Giuliani or Thompson or Romney or McCain, somebody who supports the president’s strategy in Iraq gets it? What do you do then? Do you run as a third party, Libertarian, for example, which you have done in the past back in, what, 1988?
PAUL: I have no plans, no intention of doing that. We have a very biased system here in this country against democracy really working. It’s hard to get on ballots. Unless you’re a billionaire, you might as well forget about it.
You’re excluded from the debates so it’s very difficult. And I, right now, don’t have a stomach for that, so I’m concentrating on exactly what I’m doing. And as long as we have this expansion of our campaign and these funds just rolling in without us doing very much, I better stick to my guns and what I’m doing right now.
BLITZER: But I can assume from your answer, therefore, if you don’t get the nomination, you stay in the Congress, you stay in the House of Representatives, you continue doing what you’re doing in the Congress?
PAUL: That is true. And my plan B is I am still running for Congress in Texas. I’m allowed to run for both. So, yes, I would be glad if my people vote for me to stay in the Congress. I would.
BLITZER: We have done some checking of your record, and it’s amazing, Congressman. You know this. On so many pieces of legislation you are the only, only member of the House, Democrat or Republican, that has opposed some legislation, some resolutions.
For example, a bill calling on the Arab — the League of Arab States to step up efforts to stop genocide in Darfur. The vote was 425-1. You were the one.
A bill calling on Vietnam to release political prisoners, 425-1. You were the one.
Condemning the Robert Mugabe violence against Zimbabwe citizens, 421-1. You were the one.
Awarding a gold medal to Rosa Parks. We could go on.
Why — tell us — explain why you so often have been the sole voice in the U.S. House of Representatives on what everybody else supports and what to so many people would seem like a no-brainer?
PAUL: Right. No, I think maybe I’m the only strict constitutionalist because I look at that from the Constitution.
It’s not that I’m against what they’re proposing, but some of those resolutions is just interference, unnecessary. Carry that to the next step of that resolution between, you know, condemning the Turks about Armenia. Just think of the chaos that created.
Getting ourselves involved in some event a hundred years ago, it makes no sense at all. I should — we should deal with our problems here, with our defense, and not pretending that we know what is best. So it’s a principle that I defend. I don’t think I have the authority. It’s meddling where we shouldn’t and it usually leads to trouble. Of course, the Armenia vote was much more troublesome, and look at what — the chaos it’s caused between Turkey and the Kurds.
BLITZER: Congressman, I can understand your principle stance on the foreign policy-related issues, but what could be unconstitutional about giving the gold medal to Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist and leader that all of us are quite familiar with?
PAUL: Well, you know, that wasn’t easy for me because I think she’s a real hero because I believe in civil disobedience. And I believe peaceful change has come about that way.
But I was dealing with the money. Why should I tax you to give her a medal?
I went to my members, fellow members of Congress and I said, “I’ll be glad to give her a medal. Let’s each put in a hundred bucks, and I’ll put in a hundred bucks and we can pay for it.”
But to do good by taking money from the people, that is not a precise authorization in the Constitution. So the principle is that you don’t have this right to do it, but to say something good and to, you know, honor people like that would be fine. But we ought to do it with our own money, not with your money.
BLITZER: Congressman Ron Paul has become a phenomenon.Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. We’ll see you out on the campaign trail.
PAUL: Thank you very much.
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