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Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript

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WALLACE: We are back at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Joining us now is the candidate who finished in the top tier in Iowa and is a strong second now in most polls heading into Tuesday's primary here in New Hampshire.

Congressman Ron Paul, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."

PAUL: Thank you very much. Nice to be with you.

WALLACE: Let's start with your third place finish in Iowa this week. According to the entrance polls, you took 40 percent of voters who described themselves as moderate or liberal. But only 14 percent of Republicans.

Question -- how can you win the GOP nomination if Republicans don't vote for you?

PAUL: Well, you know, there was another analysis that -- you know, nearly half of the 48 percent of the independent. And another number was close to 40-some that were conservatives. So maybe they are independents or something like that.

But, no, the message has to be across the board. We have to get Republican votes. But right now, I'm very strong on those individuals who want to come in to the party, you know, the young people, they wanted to come in. I do very, very well there -- and the independents, you know, I think.

But I still have to, you know, attract those voters who consider themselves conventional Republicans. But, you know, I talk about, you know, the wisdom of the Republican Party. They talk about limited government and balanced budgets, and because, you know, I have to stand up against the party, some people don't figure it out. But I really speak the language of the Republicans who think that we should have limited government.

WALLACE: Here in New Hampshire, roughly 40 percent of the primary vote is expected to be so-called undeclared voters, not registered either as Republicans or Democrats. Are you counting on the undeclared voters in New Hampshire?

PAUL: Oh, absolutely. We solicit them and, of course, we go to the Republicans as well. But the whole spirit up here, you know, falls into place what I've been talking about for a long time, you know, very limited government economically and with personal liberties.

And so, we work hard with the independents. But I think we are doing quite well with the Republicans, too.

WALLACE: Your campaign manager says that your focus is to win five caucus states, caucus states like Minnesota, and Maine and Missouri. Because if you take five states, you can then get your name placed in the nomination at the Republican convention in Tampa in August. Question, that sounds more like a strategy to make a prime time speech at the convention to affect the party platform than it does to win the nomination.

PAUL: Of course, that's fall back, you know, if we don't pull it off and we're not in first place, yes, that would be a good goal and people ask me why I run. And, you know, I run to win and I have won a lot, but we also want to help direct the party and country in a certain way. So, that would be a very, very positive strategy to influence the party. So, we certainly would look at that as well.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that, because, you know, there's a big deal made about the platform at the convention and then frankly, I don't have to tell you, people ignore it.

Is it important to you to get your views, anti-war views, anti- government views into the Republican platform?

PAUL: Oh, I think so and you are right. But that's also the reason the American people are so sick and tired of the promises by Republican and Democratic leadership. You know, they make these promises. They have platforms. And they go and they don't do anything about it.

Democrats act like Republicans. Republicans act like Democrats. They keep spending the money. They don't shrink the size of the government. They don't protect our privacy. And they don't --

WALLACE: And why do you care what's in the platform?

PAUL: Well, I guess I'm an optimist, you know, that -- you know, you keep plugging away. I have to be an optimist because I have been plugging away for a long time.

My views, I've expressed since the '70s. But all of a sudden, they're getting a lot of attention, a lot of popularity. The country out of desperation now is looking at a constitutional approach.

You know, in foreign policy, they're tired of the war. Just think how many people now are looking at monetary policy. And that only happens about every hundred years where people get real concerned about monetary policy. And everybody knows we're up against the wall in spending and the debt is a problem, and they know I'm aggressive in dealing with the deficits that we have.

WALLACE: In your speech in Iowa Tuesday night, I think it's fair to say that you made a statement that no candidate running for the president of the United States has ever made before. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I'm waiting for the day when we can say we're all Austrians now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: I think you'd agree -- no presidential candidate ever said that.

You were advancing something you believe very deeply, the Austrian School of Economics, which opposes the idea of government intervention in times of downturn, of crisis, and says, basically believes in a value of what's called creative destruction. Is that what President Paul would do? Creative destruction?

PAUL: Well, that -- that is the answer to our problems. I mean, if want economic growth, you have to listen to that. But, you know, obviously that statement comes from the fact that I did have a very good handlers that I did listen because I'm sure my political handler, what are you talking about? Only your supporters know what you are talking about. But a lot more people know about, the young people in campuses.

Now, what you want is corrections. And we are talking about a correction in one year instead of five or 10 or 15 years. For instance, Japan has been correcting for 20 years and they haven't cleansed their system, they haven't gotten rid of the malinvestment and the bad debt. We did it in the 30s. And we're trying real hard.

We predicted these problems and said the malinvestment distortions come from the Federal Reserve having artificially low interest rates.

WALLACE: So, you're saying, don't intervene. If it's going bad, let it go bad.

PAUL: Quickly. In 1921, that's exactly we did. And the GDP went down like 15 percent. And debt was liquidated and nobody even remembers it. So, now, when you prolong and you prop things up -- like in the Depression, we did things like, well, the farmers didn't have enough money. So, we need more money for crops, so we, you know, plowed the crops under when people were starving. That's silliness of government intervention.

So, you need to get rid of the mistake. It's sort of like you need the operation. You need the surgical removal of the tumor. And the tumor is the mistakes and debt.

And this is why I made bold proposals to cut $1 trillion out of the budget.

WALLACE: Last week, you were asked about and defended your criticism of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which ended discrimination and public accommodation.

Back in 2004, you said this. And we're going to put it up on the screen. "The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society."

It's -- are you saying that the owner of a restaurant, a private restaurant, should be able to decide whether or not to serve black people?

PAUL: What I'm saying is I'm challenging individuals to say, what is private property? Is private property -- is your house private property but your restaurant is not? How do you separate the two? One is good and, you know, one isn't.

But, yes, we believe that the law, the bad laws, the Jim Crow laws where government forces integration. They are evil and --

WALLACE: Forced desegregation.

PAUL: Yes. So, we have to get rid of those but you don't throw away all kind of property because we are convinced that your civil liberties are protected by property. You have a right of free speech and you have a TV station. But it's this property, nobody can walk into the studio and exert themselves.

WALLACE: But --

PAUL: Let me finish if I could.

The bedroom is private property. So, if you want to protect sexual preferences, you protect the property of the bedrooms. So, we can't separate civil liberties from property.

WALLACE: But specifically, are you saying that if I own a restaurant and I don't want to serve an Africa-American, I should be able --

PAUL: Well, you know what they've done. The whole thing is, is that's ancient history. That's been settled a long time ago and nobody is going to go back to that. It would be the most devastating things, stupid for people to do that, then lose your business. So that --

WALLACE: So, it would have been wrong?

PAUL: It would be wrong. It would be morally wrong. But I'm not going to throw out the -- because I have such high regard for property rights.

What -- the whole thing is, sometimes these things don't work out as well. What do they do? They privatize a lot of things. You know, they had private clubs and things like that.

I think you have to change people's hearts and minds, but you have to understand property. Property protects our religious beliefs, our personal beliefs, our civil liberties. If you throw that all out, just think how often government was culprit, whether it was slavery, the Jim Crow laws, and, you know, segregation in the military. This was all government.

So, we want that out of the way.

WALLACE: But it sounds like ideally -- I'm not saying you would do it because you're also practical. It sounds like ideally, you would like to return back a century to the days when government didn't intervene when there was an economic problem, didn't soften the blow and quite frankly didn't force racial integration.

PAUL: We think of ourselves as advancing the cause of liberty in a modern state because we go back a hundred years ago and go back to Jim Crow laws and slavery. So, no, we don't want to go back. Even the gold standard, I don't want to go back to an imperfect gold standard.

We want to build on the freedoms that our founders gave us and the tremendous success we've had and the prosperity. Now, we are losing this. We're losing our liberties. We have, you know, the National Defense Authorization Act and the rest of the American citizens. I mean, we are going backwards on this, and all civil liberties are going to be, you know, attacked if we don't reverse this.

WALLACE: Finally, you have recently been leaving the door open to again to running as an independent if you don't win the Republican nomination. I want to take you back though to a conversation that you and I had two months ago here on "Fox News Sunday." Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I have no intention of doing that. That doesn't make sense to me, to think about it, let alone plan to do that.

WALLACE: Because?

PAUL: Because I don't want to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: You like that answer.

WALLACE: Yes, I loved the answer then, I love it now. So my question is, where are you? What you're saying now, which is, I will decide later, or I have no intention to doing it because I don't want to do it.

PAUL: I'll give the same answer. I don't want to do it. I have no plans on doing it. I want to see how well I do. I'm doing pretty darned well.

WALLACE: I know you are. But are you leaving the door open or are you not leaving the door open?

PAUL: I'm not an absolutist. When I left Congress, I had no intention whatsoever to going back. But, 12, 15 years -- if I said, I will never return to Congress, they would have closed the door.

But I have no plans. Everybody knows I have no intention of doing that. It would be a bit of a burden. And besides, I don't want to do it.

WALLACE: Congressman Paul, thank you, as always, for coming in and talking with us. Good luck on Tuesday night, and we'll see you down on the campaign trail.

PAUL: Thank you.

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