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CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript


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MALVEAUX: We have Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul who's on the phone now joining us. He has a lot to say about the president's explanation of the new budget proposal.

Mr. Paul, thank you so much for being here.

I want to start off simply by saying the president addressed the budget, and he did not address these huge entitlement programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. Those are the big expenses of the government.

And he is offering a challenge, posing a challenge to Republicans such as yourself saying, look, what are you going to do about those entitlement programs? Do you have any ideas, alternatives, for really going after that part of the budget, the budget that is really costing this government and the people?

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS (via telephone): You know, I have a lot of ideas. And if we had the government decides -- I would like, you know, I would get rid about six departments and I would bring all our troops home and change our foreign policy, and that would solve all our problems.

But in the real world, nobody's going to do that. In the real world, nobody wants to give up anything. So, the troops are going to stay overseas, the wars are going to expand --

MALVEAUX: But would you touch those entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security?

PAUL: Well, just dealing with that, that is one thing that you could also have priorities. You don't -- I personally don't think you have to start with somebody -- elderly that's getting medical care. But --

MALVEAUX: What would be the first thing you would do?

PAUL: I would change our foreign policy. And I would change -- I would save hundreds of billions of dollars immediately by bringing the troops home. I have -- I have an amendment for our budget that's coming up, and it's going to save $6 billion in foreign aid to four countries. I imagine I will get less than 100 votes on that.

But why -- why do we keep giving money to these foreign countries. This would include Egypt. Why did we invest $70 billion overseas to Egypt and we had to buy their friendship?

MALVEAUX: But do you think the equation in Egypt has changed? Now that you have President Hosni Mubarak out of power, essentially they're looking for reforms -- perhaps they will achieve a process towards democracy. Do you think that there should be American dollars that at least support that effort?

PAUL: Absolutely not. I think there's a better chance they would have true democracy without us. You know, when they have elections in the Middle East, if the wrong people win, we just ignore them and say it was not legitimate. We will support a dictator -- we support more dictators than democracy.

MALVEAUX: Do you support what you've seen in Egypt?

PAUL: Oh, I'd love to see the people rebellion. What I don't like and what I worry about is right now, one of Mubarak's best friends who runs the army, they have, you know, martial law, the army's in charge, and the army depends 100 percent on us. They wouldn't have an army without us. So, we're probably in the process of picking the next dictator. And hopefully it will be a lot better than that. But, basically, you know, that is what happens. We have to prop up our dictators, because democracy, when there's true elections over there, we're unhappy with the elections. You know, there was a democratic elected leader in the '50s in Iran, Mosaddegh, we kicked him out and put in our dictator which has led to chaos in Iran, for all these years. So, I don't -- I think that has to change.

And when you get back to the budget, you could save a lot of money, we would be a lot safer and you wouldn't have to kick elderly people off medical care. But I've never voted for any budget, you know, any appropriations. So, I'm on record for not supporting any of it because I've been worried about this for a long time.

MALVEAUX: Well, tell me, what does the Tea Party -- what does the Tea Party that's now come into power in this new Congress, what kind of responsibility do they have in terms of the budget itself? We know that they are about making severe cuts. We don't hear any kind of specifics.

PAUL: I think there's some truth to that. But the Tea Party movement is pretty loose. There's no one Tea Party movement with one leader. But they're worried about the deficit. And they'd like to see the cuts.

And yet -- I think it is true that they're not out there chomping at the bit to freeze benefits or cut benefits for Social Security or raise the retirement age. No, I don't think -- I don't think they are. I think they're --

MALVEAUX: Would you push them to do more? Do you think -- do they think they should do more?

PAUL: The Tea Party people?


PAUL: Oh, I don't -- I think that's -- I don't think it's relevant. I mean, I --

MALVEAUX: Why not?

PAUL: Because nobody controls the Tea Party people. They're restless. It's sort of like looking at those people who finally rebelled in Egypt and saying, OK, what is the consensus on what you want?

Nobody puts down a list of things about what everybody believes in. They're just disgusted with the status quo, and that's what's coming here.

The status quo here is government is too big -- they agree on that. There's too much spending and there's too much deficit -- they agree on that. But I think there's less agreement on, well, where do you cut? Do you cut foreign aid before you cut medical care? You know, that's the kind of stuff, the technicalities. We're addicted to spending, we're addicted to debt, and we're addicted to printing money. And believe me, it is not going to be easy to deal with this -- I look at this like you're treating an alcoholic and say, well, we're going to put you in treatment and we're going to wean you off, every day, drink one less beer. It doesn't work.

MALVEAUX: Congressman Ron Paul --

PAUL: That's why they're not even dealing with that. They have to deal with what kind of government we want. Do we want a welfare or warfare state? As long they do, you can't solve this problem.

MALVEAUX: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Congressman Ron Paul, thank you for joining us.

Obviously, a lot of debate around the role of the government and whether or not it should be spending and how far these cuts should go, the role of the Tea Party -- all of this -- and how it impacts your life. We're going to have much of that after this quick break.


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