Interviews

Rep. Paul: We Should Be Talking About Issues

2012 hopeful on Gingrich's rise in polls, White House bid

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 2, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, the jobs news not good news for Mitt Romney. Here's another. The Republican front-runner might not be the front- runner, at least not now. According to Rasmussen, Newt is the party's new beauty, the former speaker now the present Republican leader for now.

To a not-so-convinced Ron Paul. The Texas congressman joins me out of Manchester, New Hampshire. Congressman, what do you think of that poll?

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Showing Newt well ahead?

Well, there's been quite a few that jump up in the polls and they quickly go down. So only time will tell how long he'll be up there.

CAVUTO: You have your doubts as to whether this up-again/down-again state of Republican leaders continues. Right?

PAUL: Yes, I would have to think so.

Any of these polls, somebody announces, then they're at top within a week and then they're down in three weeks and it is up and down.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAUL: They cannot be all that reliable.

I was just talking to some people today that seemed to be pretty knowledgeable of how politics work. And he says in reality people wait until the last couple of weeks and then they really make up their minds. We're getting awfully close to that, but there will still be a lot of minds made up yet between now and next month.

CAVUTO: You have said -- and we will get to this in a second into a little more detail, Congressman -- that you don’t think Newt Gingrich is a true conservative. What did you mean by that?

PAUL: And who said he was a true conservative?

CAVUTO: You did. You doubted that he was a true conservative.

PAUL: Oh, I doubted it. Yes, I thought you said I said he was.

Well, you know, you get in -- playing these games on semantics.

What I think a true conservative is might not be exactly what you think a true conservative is. But what I think about as true conservative in voting in Congress over the years is when you have a vote on a conservative issue, you only get 10 or 15 or 20, maybe 30 voting what the true conservative position is.

And I would say that I never remember or thinking that Newt Gingrich was part of that group.

CAVUTO: Interesting, because you sort of upped the ante here that since we had this surge of Newt Gingrich, you have probably led more than others the effort to reassess the whole Gingrich presidential candidacy.

This ad is what is striking people’s attention. We have a clip from its right here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Newt Gingrich renewed his support for an individual mandate, a key tenant of President Obama’s health care law.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Support for an individual mandate? Folks, don’t ask me to explain this.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And a real question of seriousness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything that Gingrich railed against when he was in the House, he went the other way when he got paid to go the other way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are an embarrassment to our party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He’s flipped and flopped based on who is paying him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's demonstrating himself to be the very essence of the Washington insider.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Boy that was a fast spot to get out there. When did you guys put this together?

PAUL: That was just a couple of days ago. As a matter of fact, that wasn’t too tough because we didn’t have to be too creative. We just had to get some clips mostly of what he said or someone else said about him. So we weren't all that creative. We don’t have any creative language in there. That's not me giving an opinion.

It was just a recording. I think one of the things, I really don't like that part of politics, and I wish we could just debate purely the issues. But I think I was a little bit frustrated with the fact that these events were not being fully discussed in the media.

At the same time, I thought the media was getting out-of-control when they were dwelling so much time on another candidate and had nothing to do with his issues and his beliefs. And of course you know who I'm talking about.

CAVUTO: Are you talking about Herman Cain right now?

PAUL: Yes. How much time should we spend on that?

I don't say the media shouldn’t even talk about it, but if you go back and look at the hours spent on that vs. the little bit of information talking about the flip-flopping of the candidates and their positions, I just thought it was necessary to get some of that information out.

CAVUTO: I take it from that, you mean you that this announcement that Herman Cain is going to make tomorrow I guess whether he is in or out of the race, you don't think that this should be the issue that takes him out of the race?

PAUL: I would have preferred that it would have been his proposal for a national sales tax and the fact that he was closely connected to the Federal Reserve System, and that he supported the bailouts.

That, to me, was much more important than spending the time and energies and the amount of airtime used to talk about something that, like I said, was important. But in priorities, I would have said that these issues are more important, whether they are Herman Cain’s or Newt Gingrich’s positions. I think we should talk about where they have been and what they do and how often they change their tune. And I think that would be a much better use of time on the air.

CAVUTO: So would you feel the same way if some of the same issues that have come up against Herman Cain, fairly or not, Congressman, come up against Newt Gingrich in his prior marriages and handling of relationships? Would that also be out of bounds?

PAUL: Well, I don't know if I would use the out-of-bounds stuff, because I think there is probably no new stuff on Newt. So, maybe he has an advantage there that everyone knew about it.

And everybody knew about Clinton. And I think we are a very forgiving nation. It is when it's new and it seems like it strikes the fancy and gets the attention of the listening audience. And it must be good TV or they wouldn't do it. It is on constantly. So, I just don’t think it is likely to happen to Newt because I think everybody knows what has happened. And he has not denied anything.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

PAUL: And he has explained his position on this. So I think that is a little bit different.

CAVUTO: Nevertheless, given this ad that is out -- and you are right. You're quoting and just putting together a bunch of sources from Rush Limbaugh and other commentators and reporters and the like. But in the end, it could do a considerable damage to him in these tipoff states.

If he is still the nominee, could and would you support him?

PAUL: Well, he hints at times where I think -- if someone changes a position, that is one thing but if a person changes a position and he is real, real sincere, you shouldn't be close-minded.

And he is one of the other candidates -- although they all talk a little bit more sympathetic about -- sympathetic about knowing more about the Federal Reserve and lending toward auditing, actually Newt has been one of best of the other candidates. He has been pretty firm about it.

CAVUTO: So you could support him?

PAUL: Well, I'm telling you that if there was more of that, if there is more of him and I coming to agreements and I can be convinced.

But I think there are some issues there that would be quite difficult, because he really loves the Patriot Act. And that means he doesn't care about the Fourth Amendment and these kind of things.

CAVUTO: Gotcha.

PAUL: So I would have to be convinced.

But he is sort of opening up my mind to fact that maybe he is sincere about the Federal Reserve. So that to me means I ought to keep an open mind.

CAVUTO: Maybe you're contagious, Congressman.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: We had your son here, Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator, who says he doesn’t think you would ever entertain running as a third-party candidate. Is he right?

PAUL: That is pretty darn close. I mean, I’m not thinking about it, because look, I'm not doing badly right now.

CAVUTO: You're not.

PAUL: It seems like we are very happy with our polls. So why should we even talk about it or think about it?

So, we concentrate only on one thing: keep moving up in the polls and see how it comes out in a month or two.

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch closely. You are polling very well in the meantime, Congressman.

PAUL: Right.

CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much. Be well.

PAUL: All right. Thank you.

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