NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": The jockeying for the earliest primary date is on. And New Hampshire could be the next to move and tick Santa Claus off, because reports today that New Hampshire's secretary of state, who has the sole authority to pick a date, is pondering a primary in, get this, December, at the height of the holiday season, this after Nevada moved its caucuses to January 14, behind Iowa on January 3.
Now, under state law, New Hampshire must hold its primary one week before a similar election. That's giving the state very little wiggle room. It is also sparking a revolt at the North Pole and a call for a boycott of the Nevada debate by one Jon Huntsman Jr.
Huntsman in a moment.
First to another GOP presidential candidate, Ron Paul, with me right now.
Congressman, do you think we will be voting at Christmastime in New Hampshire?
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fifty-fifty chance.
I'm not a very good one to predict those things, but it looks like it's getting closer and closer to having a December primary, which seems to be a little bit early.
CAVUTO: All right, now leaving aside the fact that Santa Clause is upset, Congressman, do you think voters will be, even voters in New Hampshire, that this process, which seems to get getting earlier and earlier and earlier, is now risking raining on their holiday parade?
PAUL: Yes. But I haven't been thinking about this much until I heard you make the announcement. But, you know, if it does occur, maybe that will be very helpful to me, because I think some of my supporters will town out any day of the week or any day of the month. So it might be a boost to our campaign, for all we know.
CAVUTO: Well, I just pray Santa's not hearing you right now, Congressman.
But in all seriousness, sir, you are going to be participating in the Nevada debates tonight. Jon Huntsman Jr. is not.
CAVUTO: He says that that first-in-the-nation status that New Hampshire has generally been granted is not necessarily sacred, but should be honored. What do you say about that?
PAUL: I think they should each make their own decision. Nevada should make their decision. And New Hampshire should make their decision. It's sort of like to me a state's right issue.
And people outside the state shouldn't have a whole lot to say about it. And I don't feel any compulsion to interfere in the decision-making process and I'm going to campaign and work and be available regardless of when they make the dates.
CAVUTO: So, on to this debate tonight, and Huntsman of course not participating in this.
Do you think it backfires on any of you folks who are participating in the debate that you're sticking it to New Hampshire, as some have likened it?
PAUL: Oh, I really don't think so. If I thought it was a serious matter, I might be thinking more about it, but I haven't really thought it would be that damaging.
So, it may be to some degree with some candidates, but I'm not anticipating that it would hurt my campaign.
CAVUTO: All right, let's talk a little bit about what you're going to probably be elaborating on tonight. And that is your plan if you should become the next president of the United States to dramatically hack away at this budget, this deficit, and collectively this debt. You've called for $1 trillion in savings in the very first year, to balance the thing by your third year.
Do you really think that's doable?
PAUL: Well, if it isn't doable, we're embarked on a very, very bad process, because we have to do something. I think we're in a debt crisis. It's worldwide. It's not -- just not U.S. and it's not just our states. It is worldwide. It's sovereign debt, and it has been building for decades and I became concerned of that way back even in the "70s, believing that the monetary system would lead to something like this.
And I voted against all the budget appropriations essentially because I believed this was so dangerous. So, I think if we don't change and decide that debt is a consequence of spending, and you don't solve that problem by spending more money, which is what all the other candidates are advocating.
CAVUTO: Many people agree with you, in the aggregate, about your goal. They think you are rushing it too much, among those some critics at Moody's Analytics and others, who do not necessarily have great track records themselves, but I just want to quote from one, Congressman, Gus Faucher, who is the -- sort of the head there at Moody's Analytics.
"That much deficit reduction," referring to your plan, "in one year is going to be a huge drag on the economy, the reduction in spending much greater than the cuts in taxes." He's referring to your cuts in five Cabinet agencies, outright removing them and leaving better than 200,000 federal workers in one fell swoop out on the streets.
What do you say to that?
PAUL: Well, it's not exactly accurate.
The people don't get released all at once. It is through attrition. And it's over several years.
CAVUTO: But by three years, it is over. By three years, it is over, right? They are out, right?
PAUL: Well, no. It'll continue. Some of the programs will be reduced to 40 percent of what they are and some will be eliminated and some of the programs and some of the departments that are eliminated, actually, some parts of those will be maintained, but they wouldn't have a department status.
So, the -- it isn't the debt that's being reduced. It's the spending, it's the deficit. The deficit is being reduced. And that is important because it's the deficit that expands your debt.
PAUL: If you just could freeze this debt, it would send a powerful signal to the marketplace and invite our capital back home. Maybe we could get some job growth in this country once again. But at the rate we're going, there's been nothing offered up there to restore sound economic policy here and look toward the marketplace to solve these problems, rather than to the government.
Nobody's challenging fixing interest rates and spending money or running up debts and further regulation. Every time we get into trouble, they give us more regulations, whether it's Sarbanes-Oxley or the Frank-Dodd bill, on and on. It's always more regulation.
So, and I'm offering a switch on that. I actually believe that if we have the right president -- and I would be determined to -- that we ought to shrink the federal register. Wouldn't that be astounding? What kind of a good message would that send to our businesspeople?
CAVUTO: But do you worry that -- a lot of your proposals on paper do make sense. They're a long-term goal. You just do it in a lot less time.
But the rap you get from others even within your party, and you'll likely hear it tonight, sir, is that under your plan, the Food and Drug Administration would see its budget hacked close to half, 40 percent, maybe a little less. But bottom line, it would be a big...
CAVUTO: And they are saying, well, that amounts to a President Ron Paul all but welcoming poisoning Americans.
What say you?
PAUL: Well, I think the FDA has done a lot of mischief. Sometimes, they spend a lot of time preventing good drugs from coming on the market. Sometimes, they give assurances of drugs because of influence of the drug industry and they go on and they do harm and then they have to remove it from the market.
It is a politicized group because so often there's an exchange between people in the FDA and in the drug industry. So it doesn't mean that this information wouldn't be available to it. The private industries would try to provide this information, rather than the bureaucrats, which is always slanted toward certain people.
So, there was a time when we lived without the FDA that didn't monitor every single thing. And I think it inhibits a lot of drug development, because you have to continue to wait for safety and efficiency and effectiveness. At times, some of these drugs are actually pretty darn good and it takes, sometimes, decades to get around the FDA.
So, no, I think there's a lot of -- a strong argument for backing on off this so-called protection by the FDA. They can protect us no more from problems than the SEC protects us from financial problems that we have. And they -- they are supposed to protect us from all this financial difficulties that we have.
CAVUTO: And their budget has successively been increased year after year, and we still have problems. Very good point.
CAVUTO: Finally, Congressman, I do want to get back very quickly to this sort of speeded-up primary season.
The betting is that it benefits Mitt Romney, that he is sort of the guy locked in stone right now. Herman Cain has been gaining in the polls, not that they necessarily mean anything, but it could be coming to your disadvantage, that a sped-up process hurts guys like you. What do you say?
PAUL: I haven't thought so.
I haven't thought that all of a sudden; if it is one or two or three weeks' difference that will make a lot of difference. Our organizations are very strong, especially in these early primaries, on-the-ground organization in Iowa and New Hampshire very, very strong, something that you do not measure on a daily poll basis.
So whether it's a week or two earlier, I don't think it will change the outcome that much. But it may be that some people in the Romney organization believe so. And maybe they are behind, you know, this pressure. But I don't know. But I certainly don't worry about it.
CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, great seeing you again. Be well.
PAUL: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Ron Paul in Nevada.