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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript

Interview

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Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.

You see thousands and thousands of folks gathered at Tahrir Square right now. As you know the United States, the U.S. Congress appropriates $1.3 billion a year in U.S. military assistance to Egypt. What do you make of what's going on? What's your immediate reaction?

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Well, look, it's chaos and they have a long way to go before it's settled. And I would look at it and say those moneys going to Egypt propping up dictator since, what, 1978, '79, all wasted money, part of the reason why we're in debt. And then we got tired of our dictator, we sort of encourage the rebellion.

And look at where it is. Al Qaeda is stronger in that country now than it was before. This supports my argument that we ought to mind our own business and stay out of the internal affairs of these nations.

But to me, it looks sad. I think it's a real mess over there and it doesn't look like there's going to be any significant change of military dictatorship and the kind of dictatorships we unfortunately have unsupported so many times for so many years.

BLITZER: When you say al Qaeda's stronger in Egypt, I think you mean the Muslim Brotherhood, not necessarily al Qaeda, because the Muslim Brotherhood, apparently, their candidate has won these elections for the next president of Egypt.

PAUL: No, I say al Qaeda as well. The Muslim Brotherhood sometimes get a bad rap and they're not equivalent. But there's more al Qaeda there now, my understanding, than there was, you know, prior to the rebellion that is going on right now.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise, what you're saying is that al Qaeda has a significant presence in Egypt right now? Is that what I'm hearing?

PAUL: I say they have a present -- how significant it is, look at a crowd like that, could there be some involved in the Muslim Brotherhood or whatever? Possibly so. But because of the chaos, the same thing -- look, there's al Qaeda now in Iraq. There was none when we went into Iraq and al Qaeda in Iraq is going into Syria.

I think all our well intention and money is for naught. I think it just leads to problems like this and contributes to our bankruptcy.

BLITZER: You delivered a major speech on Syria today and warned President Obama not to take any action, basically, to ease what's going on there certainly no military action. But give our viewers here in the United States and around the world the gist of what your point is.

PAUL: Well, what I did was I copied the Boland Amendment. Back in, you know, when Nicaragua and contras were fighting, Boland had an amendment passed reiterating the Constitution that you don't go in and support people like that, explicitly denying the present authority to go in. That's what this does.

If he wants to go in, get a declaration of war and certainly confide with the Congress, don't get your declaration of war and your permission from NATO, United Nations. That is an affront to all of us, it's on affront to our Constitution, and not the way we're supposed to use military action around the world.

BLITZER: And you're fearful that the Obama administration is about to undertake some sort of military action in Syria? Is that your concern?

PAUL: Well, last week, it was announced the Pentagon has the plans made. A month ago, they said they didn't have them. Last week they said the plans have been ready for military action in Syria. The neo-conservatives are gleeful over this and they're delighted because that's what they've been agitating for.

BLITZER: I want you to hold on for a moment, Congressman. We'll have much more to talk about, including some political questions. We'll take a quick break. Much more with Congressman Ron Paul right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Supporters of Ron Paul's presidential bid are suing the Republican National Committee. They're accusing the RNC of improperly helping Mitt Romney throughout the Republican nomination fight and they're challenging rules requiring many Republican delegates to vote for the winner of their state's primary or caucus at the convention.

In an internal memo obtained by CNN today, the RNC is calling the lawsuit, quote "frivolous." Ron Paul stopped actively campaigning but still hoping to influence the convention at the end of August in Tampa.

Congressman Ron Paul is joining us once again from Capitol Hill.

What's your reaction to this lawsuit, Congressman?

PAUL: Well, I've heard a little bit about it. But it's not part of our campaign. There certainly have been times when we felt like we came up short in the process, but not extremely so. It hasn't ever motivated me to file a lawsuit.

But, you know, at times when we've been pushed around, it's because the other side hasn't followed the rules, you know? And they closed down conventions for us. And they've done things to try to prevent us.

But that has not motivated me to file a lawsuit.

BLITZER: Are you OK just being associated with some of your supporters who have filed this lawsuit?

PAUL: Am I associated with them?

BLITZER: No. Are you okay being associated because these are all your supporters who actually filed the lawsuit?

PAUL: Well, if they have a legitimate argument that they can make and that's what they want to do, I'm not going to say don't do it. If they ask my advice, I'm going to say don't. I didn't motivate them to do it.

But sometimes they do. I mean, sometimes they're in the states there's been times when I want people to act dignified and not try to cause a ruckus and break -- you know, and disrupt things. At the same time I tell them you don't have to tell them to get pushed around. If they're not following the rules, you have a right to stand up for the rules.

I think for the most part these winning caucuses that we've been involved in we have followed the rules. And the other side has at times not followed the rules.

BLITZER: But I assume you've reconciled yourself with the fact that Romney will be your party's nominee?

PAUL: Well, it looks like he has the delegates, yes. But he doesn't have the control of the hearts and minds of the people. And right now, a lot of people -- a lot of delegate who are pledged to vote for Romney are actually very strong supporters of ours and will be strongly supporting us when we want to put things into the platform to say, hey, we don't need another war. Yes, we do need to audit the Federal Reserve. Yes, we ought to really cut spending.

So there's going to be a lot more support there than the delegate count indicates. They'll be support for our cause of liberty and for what we've been doing for a good many years.

BLITZER: Your son, Senator Rand Paul, has endorsed Romney. I take it you're not yet ready yourself to endorse Romney, are you?

PAUL: No. Not ready.

BLITZER: You're not ready?

PAUL: No way.

BLITZER: When you say "no way," what's stopping you? You obviously appreciate the fact he's going to have 1,144 delegates that will put him over the top.

PAUL: What's he going to achieve? I think it's legitimate for us to continue to debate. I know they don't want the debate at the convention. Everything has to be smooth and proper.

But you know, I helped pay for the convention because the taxpayers pay Republicans $18 million plus. And Obama gets $18 million plus to have these grand parties. I think we should be serious and discuss differences.

It used to be that we would go the last time I actually went and attended a convention. We didn't even know who the nominee would be. And that was in 1976 when Reagan was challenging Ford.

I mean, they used to mean something. Right now I would like to have these conventions mean something and continue to debate and decide what we as a party actually believe in.

BLITZER: Are you ready to say that Mitt Romney won this nomination fair and square?

PAUL: Won what?

BLITZER: Won the Republican presidential nomination? Has Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential nomination fair and square?

PAUL: I have no reason to say that he cheated. No. I don't have that. All I know is that various factions in the party, which is something that has been rather well-known throughout history, is that people will do certain things to make their party look better. But as far as saying that he's done something unfairly, no, I'm not saying that.

BLITZER: Have you been in touch with him or his folks about a role for you at the convention?

PAUL: Not me personally. Maybe staff have indirectly, but, no. I'm not expecting a whole lot to happen there because, you know, we had to have -- you know, we had to have more delegates to say that we had to have, you know, time for speeches and that sort of thing.

No, it hasn't been resolved. They haven't turned us down. We haven't made any requests. And a little bit more time might solve all those questions.

BLITZER: Well, a lot of us will be watching to see, Congressman, if you get a primetime speaking venue at the Republican convention. That would be significant. I assume you agree.

PAUL: I think so. I think that I would probably take care of the opportunity if I could give my speech.

BLITZER: Congressman, as usual, thanks very much for coming in.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLITZER: Ron Paul joining us from Capitol Hill.

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