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SEAN HANNITY, HOST: He is a possible 2012 contender and is the author of the brand new book which seeks to bring clarity to a concept that is much lost, in terms of the meaning in the Obama administration. The book is, "Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom." The author, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is with us in the studio. How are you, it's so good to see you.
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: Very well, thank you.
HANNITY: I'm going to show video of your supporters throwing snowballs at me in 2008. I had nothing to do with it.
PAUL: And we believe in nonviolence.
HANNITY: Apparently not.
PAUL: Did you get hurt?
HANNITY: We'll talk about it. We'll get to that.
Good to see you. Thank you for being here.
HANNITY: First of all, I like your book. I've gone through it. It's -- you talk about a lot of topics in this book. I think -- would you say you are more libertarian than conservative? Or is that a fair statement? Because that's how I interpret it.
PAUL: Words are very tricky, because sometimes libertarian means one thing to a person -- a libertarian means something -- if you are a good libertarian conservative, you are a constitutionalist. And I believe all the writers in the Constitution were very libertarian in the conventional sense. They wanted less government in all areas. They don't want government involved in our economic life or in our personal lives, you know, our religious lives or whatever. But it also -- it was advised by the founders to have a certain foreign policy that we ascribe to.
HANNITY: This is probably an area you and I disagree on, but we'll get to that in a minute. You have an announcement tomorrow in Iowa?
PAUL: I do. Were you interested?
HANNITY: Yes, I'm very interested.
PAUL: We're going to announce that I'm going to start an exploratory committee.
PAUL: Yes. And I'll stop by in Iowa on my way home, and that might lead to the next decision. It depends on what kind of reception I get on your show tonight. You know, if I get booed or something, I'll say, well, maybe I shouldn't do it.
HANNITY: You know, the funny thing is, I wrote a book "Conservative Victory." I didn't write a book about Republican victory. I'm a -- I like to view myself as a conservative. There are certain things happening in Congress right now I don't think the Republicans are fighting hard enough. For example, the 2011 budget. I think they could have gotten a bigger deal. I would have preferred they shut the government down.
PAUL: I'm with you on that. But still, you know, it is not easy to vote against the budget when all the Republicans are voting, you know, for a budget. But I agree with you. I think it should close down -- it should have closed down a long time ago. But I thought it should have been closed down 15 or 20 years ago and change our ways. But because of this system and the monetary system and the desire for entitlements, I mean, it is sort of endless.
HANNITY: 14.3 trillion in a debt that we have, and now we are going to raise it how much? What do you think, if the Republicans are going to make a deal, which it appears they want to, because everyone is afraid to say that the full faith and credit of the government is not in play -- what should the deal be, if any?
PAUL: I don't believe in the deals. What did they say -- you know, one time in the '80s, there was an agreement that we would cut so much as - - we would raise taxes if we cut twice as much in spending. And the Republicans got tricked into that. There was no cuts in spending.
So I don't like these deals. What kind of thing can you pass when you pass the debt increase that you can trust? And I can't imagine anything that would talk me into voting for it. I think we should face up to it.
HANNITY: Your son Rand says a balanced budget amendment would do it for him, if we could get that.
PAUL: Yeah, and I guess I probably would have a little disagreement on that. I would, you know, vote for that, but that wouldn't make me satisfied to raise the debt, because when are you going to get the amendment passed? You have to pass it through the House and the Senate and pass it through the states, five or 10 years from now. That is what is wrong with all these budget proposals. It does nothing until, you know, many years out. But the amount of deficit difference, national debt difference in 2016 between Republican and Democrats is $19 trillion for the Republicans and $20 trillion for the Democrats. I mean, that's all fiction. It doesn't mean anything.
HANNITY: So you are starting this exploratory committee. Let's say the country was ready for your more libertarian message, as you define libertarian. How do you balance the budget and how short a time do you think you could do it? And do you think the country would be ready to say, OK, we are going to give up Social Security and Medicare and all these other things? Because I believe you would support that.
PAUL: Yes, we would. I don't think anybody could get that through, because I think we'll have an economic collapse and then we'll have to start over again, that's a bigger story. But if we had our ability to do it, I would address one subject that we agree to disagree on. And that is, I would cut a lot of the spending overseas. I mean, we have too much stuff. And why do we support Obama going into Libya and all this stuff? It is just way too much. You could cut a lot.
HANNITY: We have a war on terror, though. Is that real in your mind?
PAUL: Yes, but you have to understand where the terrorism goes. I know Michael Scheuer comes on Fox at times -- I don't know whether you've had him on.
HANNITY: I had him on, sure.
PAUL: I read him very seriously. I consider him the most intelligent person and most knowledgeable person about Usama bin Laden. And he has a new book, you know, out of that. So I think looking at that means that our foreign policy does have something to do with our problems and our dangers that we face here.
But I don't see --
HANNITY: But when you say that, I think people interpret that, that we incite the attacks against us. The conclusion of the 9/11 Commission was they are at war with us, but we are not at war with them. So in other words--
PAUL: Yes, but the 9/11 Commission also recognized that there was a blowback phenomenon, the fact that we were over there and had a base in Saudi Arabia was part of it, and Usama bin Laden said that. And we immediately after 9/11 removed the troops from Saudi Arabia. We closed that base down. But the 9/11 report recognized that.
HANNITY: But isn't that -- but if they were at war with us for a decade and we're not at war with them, do you not agree that there is a desire among Islamic extremists to have an Islamic caliphate, Sharia law, and conquering the world? Because that's their stated goal. That's what they say they want.
PAUL: But I think there would be this many, but because we are over there, their numbers grow. That is what -- you have radicals in all religions. And if there is some way to incite them, their numbers will grow. So their numbers have grown, but they use us to do that. And they say, oh, they are over here. We support all these dictators.
HANNITY: I think they hated us already. I think -- but we'll continue this. We'll pick it up there. We're going to have much more with Congressman Ron Paul, making a big announcement on this program. He's starting an exploratory committee that he will announce in Iowa tomorrow. We're going to ask the congressman why his supporters, his loved ones, heckled little old me and threw snowballs at me back in 2008. And we'll see if he condemns his own supporters, coming up.
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