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MSNBC - Transcript

Interview

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Location: Washington, DC


MSNBC- Transcript

MS. O'DONNELL: And a report out today says the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could end up costing $2.4 trillion. That's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. This is -- the Bush administration says it will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power, and talk of possible military action is in the air.

The news may also explain why Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul is creating such a buzz on the Internet and why he raised an impressive $5 million during the third quarter.

Congressman Paul joins me now, live from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, good to see you.

REP. PAUL: Thank you. Nice to be with you.

MS. O'DONNELL: Let me fist ask you about that new report out today that I just mentioned, that the war is going to cost $2.4 trillion; $8,000 for every American.

Your reaction.

REP. PAUL: It's money we don't even have. We have to borrow it or we have to print it. It's a devastating number, it's going to bring us to our knees, it's going to lead to a financial crisis, and we can't achieve anything of real value by just expanding that war over there. We're not doing well there. Of course, my position is save the money and bring our troops home.

MS. O'DONNELL: If you were president, how quickly would you bring the troops home?

REP. PAUL: As quickly as possible. I mean, you can't do it in a day or a week, but you talk to the military people and find out. But you change the policy, you say that we are not going to occupy Iraq and we start closing down those bases, and within months, bring them home.

MS. O'DONNELL: Congressman, you are 72 years old and you are a sensation among young people in America who have helped fuel this large campaign war chest you have. They are very able on the Internet. When I have mentioned and said things about you in the past, my e-mail box gets flooded. (Laughs.)

REP. PAUL: Great.

MS. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible.)

When we reported that you raised $5 million on the Internet, I said that you were an isolationist. Describe what your position is.

REP. PAUL: Yeah, that's the wrong word. I'm sure you meant no harm, but an isolationist is a protectionist and doesn't want people to travel nor trade. I'm a free trader, and I want people to be able to travel. I just want our troops at home. I want to follow the Founding Fathers' advice about non-entangling alliances. Even George Bush's campaign in the year 2000 said no entangilng alliance, a humble foreign policy, no nation building. This is the traditional American policy. All the presidential candidates, even when they planned war, argued this case. But everybody knows I'm serious about it. And we should follow the constitution, the advice of the founders and what the Republican party used to stand for.

MS. O'DONNELL: Congressman, we talked about your very full campaign war chest, and yet there's a new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll out today which shows Rudy Giuliani getting 32 percent among likely Republican primary voters, Fred Thompson coming in second at 15 percent, followed by John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. You only registered at 2 percent. How do you explain or how do you attribute to the fact that you're not doing so well in the polls?

REP. PAUL: Well, I think there is a discrepancy. It may be the way they do the polling, it may be that we have to spend the money that we have raised, but we certainly have the support. Our campaign is growing exponentially, fundraising as well as the number of volunteers, and we have a presence around the country, and it's going to continue to grow, but we do have to prove ourselves.

But those polls aren't the final word. There's a lot of people -- most people are still pretty undecided, and it's early, but soon it'll come that time when we have these primaries, and I believe we'll prove ourselves just as we have proven ourselves in the fundraising.

MS. O'DONNELL: Congressman, as you know, most of the other Republicans running for president that you have stood onstage with during the debates, they support a continuation of the war in Iraq. You want to end the war in Iraq. If one of them is awarded the Republican nomination, will you choose a third party? Will you not back that nominee?

REP. PAUL: No, I don't plan to run in a third party. That's not my goal. But if we have a candidate that loves the war and loves the neo-con position of promoting our --

MS. O'DONNELL: Who is that? Who do you mean when you say someone who loves the war and loves neo-cons?

REP. PAUL: Well, the people who have run our foreign policy, all the advisors that the president has had. But they advise the Democrats as well. I mean, those who say that we can't take anything off the table as far as Iran is concerned, those who say we can't get our troops home -- and this is on the Democratic side as well -- for 2013. I mean, they are in control, the people who believe in interventionism and an aggressive foreign policy are in control of both parties. That's why I'm getting a lot of attention and this is why we are able to raise the money.

And this is also reflecting the fact that 70 percent of the American people are tired of this war, and as you pointed out, we don't even have the money to finance this war. We are going to go bankrupt and the dollar is reflecting this. This is why the dollar is going down, because all great nations -- and because they get an empire that's too big and they can't afford it, and they eventually ruin their currency.

MS. O'DONNELL: All right, Congressman. Thanks so much for your time. Will you tell your supporters not to flood my e-mail box?

REP. PAUL: Oh, no. I think you you should enjoy reading them all. (Laughter.)

MS. O'DONNELL: Thanks for your time.

REP. PAUL: Thank you.

END.


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