NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: It might be a little too soon to rule out Ron, even though many in the mainstream media intend to keep doing so, because if these latest polls mean anything, Ron Paul is still popping.
In Iowa, he is almost topping. He's beating out Mitt Romney among the caucus-goers. More proof that Ron Paul is anything but a goner?
The Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul on the phone with us right now.
Congressman, good to have you.
REP. RON PAUL, R-TX, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Neil. Nice to be with you.
CAVUTO: You did very well in the debate last night. By the way, on these debates, do you tire of them? I know Fox has a big one. I will be involved in that one, so I hope the answer is no, you don't tire of them, but do they get to be a little grueling or what?
PAUL: Yeah. Sometimes you stand for a couple of hours, but maybe talk for seven minutes.
PAUL: I much more prefer an interview, ya know, a serious interview, where the interviewer can follow up and you can follow up and explain things. So the setting is not good and the standing around like that is not the best way to get information out.
But I don't think there is any other choice. I don't think any one individual really enjoys it but you don't have any choice. If you drop out and you say I'm not going to come, that would be very bad politically. But it is far from an ideal setting for the kind of discussion that I would like to have.
CAVUTO: Well, you do speak your mind, Congressman, and that gets your opponents jumping on you for how far you can carry let's say the libertarian arguments and no intervention in any foreign conflicts or what have you.
But whatever they say, at least when Iowans have been polled, they like what they are hearing. Do you think it is necessary for you to win Iowa? That that is the best chance for you to state your case, and that placing third or fourth would not be good?
PAUL: I think fourth or fifth would be very bad, and would be very discouraging because we have invested a lot of time and we are doing well, so something would have to happen to knock us down that low.
I don't work with the assumption that first is absolutely necessary, in that we are on the verge of getting it, because it's gonna be tough even though that is a possibility. Second -- second would be very good and that with give us a little bit of momentum. Third is a question mark. But that is an honest assessment from me, so, time will tell.
But, ya know, one thing about Iowa it is getting people determined. They keep talking about how do you get people to go out in Iowa when it is 10 below zero and the wind is blowing and it is snowing? And most people give us credit that our supporters will probably be the most energetic in getting out. So I think our support is more solid than the others.
CAVUTO: Well, they do come out to vote. That is for sure.
Congressman, looking at the folks who you were up on that stage with last night, could you support any one of them as the nominee?
PAUL: I would have trouble with what I heard last night because it is almost opposite of the defense of liberty that I'm talking about.
I mean, the Republican Party is supposed to be a party of, you know, defining small government, but when it came to the civil liberties, the Patriot Act, the invasion of privacy, the Fourth Amendment, all these things, they wanted more government. And of course, it is traditional that they wouldn't ever back off on anything military, even though the Republican Party has had a tradition like this, certainly not now.
It is the perception that you have to be more militant than the next guy. So, but you don't know how it evolves. Sometimes, ya know, they change their positions. I would have to be convinced that their position has changed. But from what I hear now, I think it would be very difficult for me to get very enthusiastic about any of them. I think time will tell, and who knows what will evolve.
CAVUTO: Alright, so a good many of them are arguing with your stance on a whole host of issues last night. That is normally the case, but there was a bit of a pile-on and I'm sure you're used to that. It raises this question again. If they have concerns about you, and you have concerns about them, and that you might not support a number of them if they were the party nominee, would you ever run as a third-party candidate?
PAUL: Well, I don't like to talk in absolutes, so I don't talk in absolutes, but the odds of that happening are so slim that it is very close to an absolute.
CAVUTO: Rick Perry was here, Congressman, and unequivocal, said absolutely not, that would damage my party, I could not countenance it, I wouldn't do it.
He said he would support any one of the other candidates, including you, should you become the nominee.
PAUL: Yeah. My trouble is I guess I can be accused of less loyalty to political parties than others.
I think political parties are vehicles and what you believe in and your oath of office and what the principles are of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, that has a higher priority for me so I put loyalty to the party down.
In Washington, when there is a tight vote and the whip comes around, they want you to change the vote, the ultimate test is, are you or aren't you going to be a team player? It has nothing to do with what you believe in or what the law says, but the question is, will you be a team player?
So I have never enjoyed that type of conversation. One time Ronald Reagan asked me to change my vote and I explained to him that I had promised in the campaign to vote a certain way, and I'm sorry, but I wouldn't be able to do it. He was very, very respectful and understood it and didn't then try to intimidate me in any way.
So I think that is the way it should be, but, unfortunately, the loyalty to the party should be secondary to loyalty to your oath of office.
CAVUTO: The argument for that I was raising with Governor Rick Perry, sir, is this.
Whatever his differences with the other candidates, including you, I guess, by extension, the far worse alternative would be Barack Obama, so, that was where he was coming from. What did you think?
PAUL: Well, you know, I think the rhetoric is different between the two, but if you look throughout history, Barack Obama has not been loyal to his base.
He is trying to neutralize the Republicans by being more militant and he has really gotten the Republicans in a box because now that is why they are talking more militant because he is showing that, boy, he is tough and he will create these wars and he is going to be a tough guy. So it goes back and forth.
What they say and what they do is so different because when we, the Republicans, get in office and say we're the fiscal conservatives, we don't do anything about balancing the budget and we give them No Child Left Behind and prescription drug programs.
This is what the people are so tired of. People see through this. So, it is not is so much I'm alone. I feel, although last night the crowd -- probably a third of the crowd was with me, but I think a lot more than a third of the country is with me, because when I go around the country and talk this way, whether it is the young or the elderly, they are starting to understand exactly what I am saying.
CAVUTO: Ron Paul, it's always a pleasure. Have a good Thanksgiving.
PAUL: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Congressman Ron Paul.