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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript

Interview

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BALDWIN: What a day it's been. And now we get to talk to live from Capitol Hill Representative Ron Paul, Republican running for president. Congressman, Paul, welcome. Thank you for coming back on the show.

Let me point out, you're there at Capitol Hill. You're not with your fellow candidates at this pro-Israel -- we've shown several of them speaking today. And this is because the Republican-Jewish Coalition chose to exclude you. They say that you are anti-Israel, that you are extreme.

Here's my question to you, sir. Did you at all take a moment and protest your exclusion and say -- I hear you laughing -- saying, hey, this is America, I should be heard as well?

RON PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that's one point of view and that's a healthy point of view. And, you know, healthy discussion is a good American tradition, too. But it's a private organization, so me being very much aware of what private organizations can do, I really don't have much recourse.

But I think in public opinion, people will ask questions, why isn't he included? He doesn't say everything like everybody else, but maybe we do need a full discussion and to paint it and say, maybe he's not supportive of Israel, he's anti-Israel, that's being dismissed rather carelessly and unfairly. So I've had my chance and we've had a little bit of access to Internet to explain my position. So it may well appear here rather shortly.

BALDWIN: OK, so as it appears shortly, I also want to read something that you said not too long ago at a CNN candidate forum. You say, quote, "Why do we have this automatic commitment that we're going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel? I think they are quite capable of taking care of themselves." Congressman Paul, with all due respect, that doesn't sound like a candidate who will realistically challenge the Republican nomination.

PAUL: Well, what you need to do is go and read the speech that Netanyahu gave on the House floor here a couple nights ago. He said we don't need American troops. We can take care of ourselves. That might be worth looking into.

We don't have a treaty with Israel and we should be friends with Israel and we should trade with them and do all of these things. But to commit another generation we don't even have a right to do it. And if it's necessary to be involved in a war, the president doesn't make that decision. The people do it through declaration of war in the Congress.

I don't know what is so extreme about following the rules and a little bit of decorum and being sensible about it. I worry about this senselessness of going to war any time that we want. That's my greatest problem. We're involved in too many wars and we should be careful on how we go to wars. But if Netanyahu says we don't need our troops over there, why am I not allowed to say that as well?

BALDWIN: But congressman, we've heard this from you, that we are involved in too many wars, or we could be. Is it emblematic at all of the box you find yourself in, because you certainly have some very faithful supporters, you core group of supporters. But because you are so committed, so libertarian, that you are forever unlikely to garner mass appeal?

PAUL: I think America is in a box. We're in a box with our national defense. We spend too much money policing the world, getting involved in nation building, we're going bankrupt. We have to borrow the money we're spending overseas. We are in a financial crisis. America is not in a box. I'm not in a box. I'm just telling the truth of what is going on.

BALDWIN: Do you at all feel like you've boxed yourself in and so come time for the rest of the country to vote for you, you're not going to have that support en masse?

PAUL: I think you have it backwards. I think the American people are boxed in and they want out. That's why I get support. I get twice as much support as all of the other from the military, and they're sick and tired of being boxed in too. So I would say the boxing in is the American people. The American taxpayer needs unlimited commitment in going to war on the United Nations on NATO. And Obama went into Libya and didn't even consult with the Congress. That's being really boxed in. That's what we have to deal with.

BALDWIN: Congressman, speaking of your hands-off foreign policy, we have to talk about Donald Trump. So he is out there and he's out there saying you don't give a hoot if Iran gets a nuclear weapon. Have you heard that?

PAUL: Well, yes, but he's wrong, because I give a hoot about nuclear weapons. I don't want anybody to have them. I think they are terrible. I think we should do what we can. We treated Libya differently. We talked them out of it. So what did we do to them? We bombed them and threw Gadhafi out of office.

But, yes, I care about it. I think we should have a lot less. But I don't want to be going to war on another country that doesn't have a nuclear weapon and they are not even on the verge of it, according to our own CIA agents. There's no evidence that they are on the verge of a nuclear weapon.

And this was the same war-mongering talk that we went into war against Iraq. Why don't we pay attention? The greatest threat that we face today is carelessly starting a war against Iran because of a weapon that they don't have. And even a recently retired head of the Mossad said that would be the stupidest thing in the world for us to do is start bombing Iran because they might have nuclear weapons.

BALDWIN: So moving along with foreign policy, I have to talk about this race that you're in. And here's my question. Newt Gingrich, is he the Republican front-runner now? Do you see it that way?

PAUL: He's the flavor of the week. We don't know what it will be next week.

BALDWIN: Not the front-runner then, you say?

PAUL: Well, I mean, he has to be there for more than a week, and the only thing that really counts is a month from now. And if you look at our growth in the polls, I mean, ours is steady. Nobody takes it away from me that it's not solid. People don't come and go once they support our campaign.

So I feel good about our growth. We were in high single digits six months ago, we are in high double digits now, in second and third place solidly. I say we just keep doing what we are doing now and we will have a very good showing come January.

BALDWIN: Yes, you have very solid p numbers. We've seen the polls in Iowa. But is it at all frustrating to you congressman? You've been out there, built this solid organization in Iowa, the nuts, the bolts. And then you have this man, Newt Gingrich, really no organization to speak of, have him sort of swoop in, charming the pants off these Iowans? Does that bug you?

PAUL: No, I wouldn't use that. But just remember, easy come, easy go. So we'll worry about that later on. I don't think it's all that solid. He's the fourth person to have done this. So why should you assume that the nomination is locked in?

BALDWIN: So you're not too concerned? You say "flavor of the week"? You say wait until January 3rd?

PAUL: I'm only concerned about me being able to convince people that we need to change our attitude in Washington, that the status quo won't work, that we need a new foreign policy. We need to look at the Federal Reserve. We need to balance our budget and live within the rule of law. We need to care about civil liberties. That's what I care about.

BALDWIN: Congressman Ron Paul, appreciate you being on. Thank you so much there for us on Capitol Hill.

Still to come, more breaking news on the arrest of Jerry Sandusky, next.

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