This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": The emergence of Ron Paul has stunned quite a few people in this state. Everyone has been focusing right now on Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney and how they slug it out for the nomination.
But in this state, he is the guy with the big momentum and, in the latest poll, within just a percent point of the presumed frontrunner here. That is for the moment Newt Gingrich.
The Texas congressman joins me right now.
Congressman, what do you make of these numbers? And what do you think of the possibility you win this state?
REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I guess that is very possible now, and the numbers are more or less what many of us in our campaign had expected, because we have been working to that end, and we have been organizing and doing the things we are supposed to do.
But I also think that there is a very powerful message that we have been delivering. And it is very appropriate, I think the people do need some answers to our problems. And I have talked about economics for a long time. I have talked about bubbles and how we got into this trouble and what we ought to do.
And I have proposed significant cuts. And, quite frankly, I think we are giving a lot of answers to the questions that so many people across the country are asking.
CAVUTO: You know, the one thing that happens when you become a frontrunner or near frontrunner, Congressman, is you also become a target. Newt Gingrich has discovered that. Tomorrow night, might you discover that?
PAUL: Well, that is always possible.
But, for some reason, it seems like they have been pretty courteous to me. And I think that they have worked out at least on the assumption up to now that they do not want to offend my supporters, because maybe they would like to have alliance with them.
But, no, I think you are right. I think people who lead get a lot of criticism. And I would think that I have been challenged on my views for a long, long time. As a matter of fact, I have been challenged more than the rest of them have. And as long as they challenge me on the appropriateness of my views, I think I better be able to answer them.
But I think I have the ammunition to defend a balanced budget and cutting spending and looking into the Federal Reserve, and finally addressing the subject of a runaway interventionist foreign policy which is draining us so much and a good place where we can cut some money that wouldn't hurt our people back here at home.
CAVUTO: You know, Congressman, the last day or so I have been here in this fine state, and particularly in Sioux City, I have had an opportunity -- because we have it playing in the press room -- of watching Iowa TV coverage and a lot of political commercials.
And while a lot of the campaign ads that I see are sort of warm and fuzzy and back to America of old, and, Newt Gingrich, back to the good old days and America is great -- nothing wrong with that -- yours tend to be much more in-your-face, much more direct, much more issue-oriented.
And given these poll numbers, they seem to be resonating. But is that by design? Some of your opponents will claim, well, Ron Paul is just going negative.
Or has that just been your style all along?
PAUL: Well, I think negative in a real negative sense is when you go after people, you demagogue and distort and fib and take things out of context and become personal.
But to talk about people having different positions and having voted for certain things, I think that's appropriate and very necessary. I think that's one of my obligations is to point these things out of the opponents so that they can see a difference. But they are not going to volunteer and tell us -- the other candidates are not going to tell us about their shortcoming, nor does the media do a real good job all the time on bringing up the differences on the issues that I care about.
So I think that is my obligation to do that.
CAVUTO: You know, this has come at a time when some of the candidates who dallied about being in the race vs. not are entertaining third-party runs.
Gary Johnson may be looking at a libertarian run tomorrow with an announcement. And last night on this very show, Congressman, Donald Trump on the possibility of a third-party run.
I want you to hear this and respond to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: I am looking at it if the Republicans choose the wrong candidate, which is a possibility, and if the economy continues to be bad, which I think it will be because we have incompetent leadership.
CAVUTO: Alright, so you're raising the distinct possibility of running as an independent then?
TRUMP: That's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, what do you think of -- if he does that, if Governor Johnson does that, if anyone among the Republican candidates already competing do that?
PAUL: Well, I think, for Trump, that is just more attention-getting.
I don't think it is likely from the other candidates, but I think that there is always that possibility. There was a moderate liberal type of candidate in 1980, John Anderson, who ran as a third-party candidate.
PAUL: So, maybe one of the other candidates that come across more moderate, if they don't make it, maybe they will say, hey, you know what, so and so doesn't fit the bill, I'm going to run.
So maybe there will be. And the American people are so frustrated, I can see the motivation of some people doing that. But I don't think it is limited to Donald Trump.
CAVUTO: You know, when I raised this very issue with your son, Senator Rand Paul, about you, because the rumors were out there -- and you never really have altogether quashed them -- that you would run as an independent candidate if things didn't go the Republican route.
What do you say?
PAUL: The same thing I have said about 35 times and maybe 10 times on your program. I don't have a different answer.
I have no intention of doing it. But I think what I was hinting to a minute ago is, maybe you ought to ask some of those moderate Republicans that are not doing so well. Maybe they will run as a John Anderson-type candidate, more so than asking me that question. But my answer remains the same.