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ABC "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" - Transcript: National Security Agency and Affordable Care Act


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TEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Dan Pfeiffer, thanks very much.

Let's go to Senator Rand Paul right there.

Senator Paul, you just heard Dan Pfeiffer, it's going to be an awesome race.

Are you going to be a part of it?


PAUL: I guess that wasn't quite an endorsement from the White House, but we're still working on them. But we actually are working with the White House. And the last time I was with the president, I told him there are some things we can agree on. One is, let's let companies bring money back home, repatriate it and let's put the tax proceeds into infrastructure. We could double the amount of money in infrastructure if we did that. And that's something we can find an agreement on. I think we should do it next week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There we go. That's one -- one point that Rand Paul and the White House could be agreeing on. We'll see what happens with that.

Let's talk about the NSA. We just heard Dan Pfeiffer weigh in on that, as well. And he says that clemency for Edward Snowden isn't under consideration at all.

Should it be?

PAUL: You know, I don't know the facts enough to know, because I don't know whether any information has been distributed to foreign powers, and that would be a great deal of concern.

I do know that I'm also concerned, though, that the national defense director lied to Congress. And I haven't heard of anybody talking about repercussions for him. I think he's seriously damaged out standing in the world. Now, we're seen to be spying not only on foreign leaders, but there's an accusation that we spied on the pope, as well.

So I think really, that there are problems. And we've lost a lot of credibility. The only way I think you could start afresh is with somebody new in charge of your intelligence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Somebody new in charge of intelligence. There's also the suggestion from one of the former NSA chiefs, Bobby Inman, General Bobby Inman, in today's "New York Times," in an extensive review of the entire NSA program. He says the National Security Agency should get out ahead of all of this and put out everything they knew Snowden to have.

Do you think that's a good idea?

PAUL: Maybe. But I think the fundamental question about whether or not this is constitutional or not should not be decided by the administration, shouldn't be decided by a secret court, the FISA court. It needs to get into the Supreme Court. So with Senator Wyden and myself, we've introduced a FISA bill that would allow cases like this to be challenged in open court, of the Supreme Court. And we should determine once and all whether or not a single warrant can apply to every American. I don't think it does and I think the Supreme Court will side with us.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you've taken some heat from inside your party for your views on privacy and the fourth amendment and the national security administration, including from congressmen like Peter King, who says people like you are trying to exult Edward Snowden.

And "The New York Times" reported that one of your potential rivals, Ted Cruz, thinks it could be disqualifying in a presidential run. This was in yesterday's "New York Times."

It says that, "When Mr. Cruz went to New York City to meet with donors this summer, he told them the Kentucky senator" -- that's you -- "Rand Paul, can never be elected president, because he can never fully detach himself from the strident libertarianism of his father, former Representative Ron Paul of Texas."

How do you respond to that?

PAUL: You know, what I would say is it's actually an advantage for me to talk about the right to privacy, because, you know, you look at the president's numbers dropping. With the young people, they've dropped 20 points in the last two months. I think the reason is because he's not protecting their privacy. Young people don't care so much about taxes and regulation, but they've all got a cell phone and they're all on the Internet and they do care about their privacy.

So do I. And I will defend it and I will correct these policies, if I were ever the one to make the decision.

And I think that will attract new people to the party, not less people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't think it's disqualifying.

How -- what do you think, though, about Senator Cruz?

He seems to be catching on. More Republicans now seeing him as a leader in the party than see you as a leader in the party, particularly catching on in Iowa.

Do you think he's your chief rival if you choose to run?

PAUL: I think we're a long way away from that. I haven't even convinced my wife yet whether I should do this. So we're a ways away from making a decision. So, uh, but no, Ted and I are friends. And he's a limited government conservative. We don't always agree on everything, but we agree on a lot of things. So I won't be coming on television to try to disparage him, whether we're ever rivals or not.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Dan Pfeiffer there say that he is confident that the Web site problems are going to be fixed by the end of November. And one of the success stories, it appears so far, is that in your own state, the Kentucky Web site seems to be doing pretty well. Twenty-six thousand Kentuckians have signed up for the exchange.

What do you make of that fact that so many Kentuckians are signing up?

And does that tell you that this program can be a success?

PAUL: Well, nearly 90 percent of them are signing up for Medicaid, free health insurance from the government. My concern is not that we shouldn't help people. I do want to help these people to get insurance. But there is going to be a cost.

And in my state, we have a lot of rural hospitals that teeter in the balance. My fear is that these hospitals may be bankrupt by overwhelming them with Medicaid patients. The same with doctors. Some may leave the community. Some may discontinue seeing Medicaid patients if they're overwhelmed.

So I see the -- the positive, but I also see the negative. And the real problem is we're driving everyone out of the individual market and there's going to be four plans. Where there were once hundreds of plans that you could choose from, there's now four government-mandated plans. If your insurance doesn't meet, because it's not as good as them, you can't buy it. But even if it's too good -- I had people all across Kentucky come up to me last week and say, I had great insurance, but mine's better than the president says I should have and I've got to either pay a tax or step down to a less good insurance plan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're saying even if the Web site problems are fixed, you're not confident that ObamaCare is going to work?

PAUL: You know, I think government is inherently inept, because they don't work on a profit motive. Government has to do certain things. There's a certain safety net. There's national defense. There are roads. There's a judiciary. There's Congress. I'm plus-minus on whether we should fund Congress.

But I would say that there are fundamental things government can do. But government shouldn't take on new opportunities or new things to do when it's not managing what it has now.

For example, Medicaid is $35 trillion to $40 trillion short, currently. So when we add a new entitlement program onto another one that's already struggling, I just don't think it was a good idea.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You faced some questions this week about your speeches and whether or not you were committing plagiarism, after reports that language in some of your speeches was lifted directly from Wikipedia, including from our colleague, Jorge Ramos, of Fusion.

Here's what -- that exchange.


JORGE RAMOS, FUSION: They accused you of stealing four lines from Wikipedia from -- for your speeches at Liberty University.

So is this true?

PAUL: We borrowed the plot lines from "Gattaca". It's a movie. And I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie. There are technicalities to this, but nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from.


STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you -- you dismiss that as making a mountain out of a mole. But since then, Politico reported that there were more instances where you used words that first appears in other places. And I know you dismiss those questions.

But do you concede, at least, that this is pretty sloppy?

And don't you have to tighten up your speechmaking operation if you, indeed, do want to have a presidential run?

PAUL: Well, you know, the footnote police have really been dogging me for the last week. I will admit that. And I will admit, sometimes we haven't footnoted things properly. In fact, I've given thousands of speeches and I don't think I've ever footnoted any of those speeches.

In the speech in question, I quoted from "1984," "Gattaca," "My Left Foot," Michelangelo, Einstein, and Ray Bradbury, among maybe a dozen others. And I attributed everything or attributed everything to them.

But I didn't get into the secondary sources and say I quoted Einstein as according to an AP story or as according to Wikipedia.

So I think the spoken word shouldn't be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you're giving a scientific paper. I've written scientific papers. I know how to footnote things.

But we've never footnoted speeches. And if that's the standard I'm going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things.

Everything in that paper, if I had presented it for an academic -- or that speech for an academic publication, would have had footnotes next to it.

In smooth things that are now going to pop up under thousands of things that I've written, yes, there are times when they have been sloppy or not correct or we've made an error.

But the difference is, I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting. I have never intentionally done so. And like I say, if, you know, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it would be a duel challenge. But I can't do that, because I can't hold office in Kentucky then.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the fix?

PAUL: Well, we're going to have to footnote things, like I say. But here's the problem, George. Ninety-eight percent of my speeches are extemporaneous. I spoke for 13 hours on the floor extemporaneous. And so it is a little bit hard to footnote things accurately. And I will give you an example.

I love the quote from Niall Ferguson, you know, referring to the president, saying, the deficit is declining, and now Ferguson says, yes, from super-enormous to really, really gigantic. And I love the quote.

But is that enough or do I have to say, as I heard or read on an AP story about Niall Ferguson, or as I heard when he was on with George Stephanopoulos? I mean, there is a sort of a certain degree when we're going to say, is that nitpicking?

So is referring to the person enough or do I have to refer to the original source, where I got the quote from, the person? In an academic paper, even if you paraphrase something, don't even use the same words, anything paraphrased has to be sourced.

So when I wrote scientific papers, I sometimes had statements with eight footnotes for one sentence. Is that what you want me to do for my speeches? If it's required, I'll do it. But I think I'm being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters. And I'm just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. That's an extensive answer. Thank you very much, Senator Paul.


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