NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF, “YOUR WORLD”: And while Rick Perry is pulling out all the stops today, is this guy where all the grassroots dough actually starts and stops?
We have got some fresh numbers showing Ron Paul reeling in close to $3 million in the last five days. More than 44,000 donations coming in from all 50 states. So for critics counting him out, maybe they should think twice as he just counts the cash?
The Republican presidential candidate joining us now on the phone from Jackson, Texas.
Congressman, these are off-the-chart numbers. And what makes them striking is largely in small denominations, thousands of them.
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it’s very encouraging, because if you got it all from the large donations through bundling by banking interests and others, that wouldn’t be very encouraging to me.
But, no, I think the grassroots are much more aware of what I’m doing than a lot of other people. I was very pleased with the fund-raising.
CAVUTO: You know what is interesting? Because your fellow Texan Rick Perry is out with this flat tax proposal. We’re going to get into it a little bit. He will be a special guest of mine discerning it.
But while he has in the past raised some big money from some big donors, nothing like what you’ve been able to do on the small, just average American front. Is that something you want to try to capitalize on, try to pound in the next debate? What?
PAUL: Well, I probably should do more of it. I think it’s natural for what I’m doing to get small donors because you know, over the years -- I have been in Washington for a while -- and the lobbyists don’t bother me. They don’t come and pester me and I don’t get a lot of PAC money, so the special interests wouldn’t naturally come toward me. So I’m very pleased.
But it also gives us the strength to build the organization that we have a lot of volunteers coming from this. And that’s also very important. And we’re doing so much better than we had four years ago, but we still know we have a ways to go because sometimes we don’t get on the headline news. You might be the only one that’s going to be generous enough to report this today. So I’m very pleased.
CAVUTO: Well, I don’t know if I’m the only one. It is eye-popping when you see it. I don’t care what your point of view is in the media. That’s something to report on, period.
What I think the media -- the general media focuses on then, Congressman, is the fact that despite all your money-making prowess which is never in doubt, it hasn’t translated with a better poll position of late.
What do you say to those critics who say you’re more a financial flash in the pan?
PAUL: I would say we are doing better. Compared to what? Compared to four years ago? Compared to six months ago?
No, we keep going up. We don’t surge, but we never drop. If we get a supporter, you know, they’re pretty loyal. Others have surged in the polls and they will be top of the pack and all of a sudden they are dropping off quickly. So, ours is very, very steady. And we haven’t lost ground, but we do need to prove ourselves.
And that’s why we’re working very hard in the early stage. And I think January is a big month for us.
CAVUTO: What are you going to do with all this money?
PAUL: We’re probably going to advertise on Fox or something like that.
CAVUTO: I guess that’s the curse of getting a lot of money, then spending it wisely. And a lot of candidates have been known in the past; Hillary Clinton comes to mind, for recklessly wasting it. Mitt Romney four years ago was criticized for essentially wasting the financial advantage he briefly had.
How do you get this into the right media at the right time with the right message to counter the perception that you’ve peaked?
PAUL: Yes. And we’ve had, I think, four or five ads out. And you have to have the expert help. Sometimes I’m the last one to argue about exactly what we should have, because I’m so tied into the philosophy.
And sometimes they suggest other things. But we have good people and they have good ads and they’ve gone over well. And they have to know the markets and I think that’s why we’ve made some progress.
CAVUTO: The flat tax, a simpler tax, something you have long championed that our present tax code was and is a nightmare, Rick Perry detailing a flat tax plan of his own. This of course comes on the heels of Herman Cain’s ‘999’ campaign.
But the Perry plan is said to be an effort to jump-start his campaign. Too little, too late? What do you think of that plan of his? What?
PAUL: Well, I don’t know.
I just think that all the others have talked a lot more about taxes than I do. Everybody knows my position on taxes. They’re too high and I would like to get rid of the income tax. But my plan didn’t talk as much about taxes. We talked about spending because that’s where the problem is. And I think they do this almost to stay away from the difficult choices.
How many others have really offered any significant cuts? Nobody’s offering that. Nobody in Washington offers real cuts. And I think that’s where the problem is. Our crisis has to do with debt, sovereign debt worldwide, and the financial conditions that are continuing to deteriorate, so, whether you collect the revenues with a sales tax plus a flat tax or all flat tax, it’s academic.
I want people to ask, what do you think our government ought to be doing? Do you think we have to be the policemen of the world? Do you think we have to these entitlements or not?
CAVUTO: So, you’re saying, his plan I think balances the budget by 2020, if he were to be reelected, essentially by the time he’s close to out office. Your plan if you get elected president is to balance it I think by your third year.
PAUL: Third year, but we cut $1 trillion the first year.
People’s eyes glaze over and say I will balance this in 15 or 20 years. The only thing that counts is one year. The same people are not there after one or two or he years so you have to do it right away. But you have to change the appetite for government.
The taxes, the tax code and the method of collection won’t solve the problem. It is not an arithmetic problem. It’s a strategic problem on what we think our government ought to be doing. And I think our government should be protecting our liberties and not running our lives and running the economy and policing the world. So there is a big difference. And I try to emphasize that.
CAVUTO: Well, Congressman, you must be doing something right with all those folks giving you checks $5, $10, $15 at a time. It has added up to some lump of cash.
Congressman, good having you on again. Be well.
PAUL: Thanks a lot.
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