Ron Paul On His 2012 Presidential Run Polls show Rick Perry overtaking Mitt Romney as the front runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Despite their leads, Texas Rep. Ron Paul says he's "in it to win it." Paul talks with NPR's Neal Conan and Ken Rudin about his presidential campaign.
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Ron Paul On His 2012 Presidential Run

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Ron Paul On His 2012 Presidential Run

Ron Paul On His 2012 Presidential Run

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NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Perry passes Romney, the president counterprograms the next GOP debate, and the former vice president rips open some old wounds. It's Wednesday and time for a...

Vice President DICK CHENEY: There are going to be heads exploding all over Washington...

CONAN: ...edition of the political junkie.

President RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

Vice President WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

Senator BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

Senator LLOYD BENTSON: Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.

President RICHARD NIXON: You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore.

SARAH PALIN: Lipstick.

President GEORGE BUSH: But I'm the decider.


CONAN: Every Wednesday, political junkie Ken Rudin joins us to recap the week in politics. He's back, and I'm back. Ken, nice to see you again.

KEN RUDIN: Hi, Neal.

CONAN: Dick Cheney releases an unapologetic memoir and former colleagues punch back. Jim DeMint says he will not run for re-election, updates on special elections in New York and Nevada, natural disasters, the budget and the wrath of God, and the president proposes to eclipse his GOP rivals.

In a few moments, we'll speak with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Later in the program, Clarence Page on the question best left unsaid at your high school reunion. Send us your nomination, But first, political junkie Ken Rudin joins us here in Studio 3A. As usual, we begin with a trivia question.

RUDIN: Nice to see you, Neal. It's been a while. Okay, well, one of the big stories, as you say, has been the Dick Cheney book, where he takes on former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice. Critical comments were made. Now, of course, Cheney served as vice president and a member of the cabinet. He was George H.W. Bush's secretary of defense.

CONAN: First Gulf War, we remember that.

RUDIN: That's right, '91. So before Dick Cheney, though, who was the last person to have served both as vice president and a member of the cabinet in his career. Now, I should say Alexander Haig served as president and secretary of state on the same day.


CONAN: Wait a minute, I'm in charge here, you shut up.

RUDIN: I'm sorry, sorry.

CONAN: If you think you know the answer to this week's trivia question, again the person who's - the last person before Dick Cheney to serve as both vice president and a member of the president's cabinet, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us,

And Ken, as usual, if we have actual votes, that's where we start, Phoenix.

RUDIN: Well, the reason we start - I think listeners should know the reason we're starting in Arizona is because this show has a sense of Yuma. Yes, okay, thank you. Anyway, the mayor of Phoenix, election yesterday. It was seven candidates. It will end up in a November 8th runoff, but the news is while the Democrat - it's a nonpartisan race, by the way, but it's ostensibly nonpartisan, but of course it's very partisan.

The current mayor, Phil Gordon, is a liberal who's term-limited. A Democrat, Greg Stanton, finished first. But the second - the runner-up is Wes Gullet, who's a lobbyist, who's a confidante of John McCain. He finished second, and he probably will win the runoff November 8th, because most of the votes, like 60 percent of the votes in the primary, were by Republican candidates.

I should mention that Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, her candidate finished third, and a self-described Tea Party candidate finished fifth. So...

CONAN: And speaking of Arizona, Arizona may try to take a more prominent place in the primary season upcoming?

RUDIN: Well, this is what's so crazy. It was driving everybody nuts, because first of all, the way it stands right now, Iowa caucuses are scheduled for February 6th, and eight days later, New Hampshire will have its first-in-the-nation primary February 14th. But a lot of these states want to move up because they want to have more influence in making - in helping decide the nominee.

So Arizona - now Jan Brewer, the governor, as I just mentioned - has been talking about moving up the primary to January 31st, but if she does that, the state law says she's going to have to announce that decision 150 days in advance, and if she does that, that means it's this Saturday.

So if it's going to be January 31th, she has to make that announcement this Saturday. So we're all waiting to see what happens because if she moves up, then everybody will move up.

CONAN: So we'll have the caucuses on Halloween.

RUDIN: Exactly. I mean, look, this is what happened four years ago, when Iowa wound up having its caucus on January 3rd because more and more states moved up.

CONAN: And as we mentioned earlier, and our trivia question this week involves the former vice president of the United States, "In My Time" is his memoir not just of his time as vice president but his entire career, but everybody's talking about the comments he made about former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

COLIN POWELL: Mr. Cheney has had a long and distinguished career, and I hope in his book, that's what he will focus on, not these cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush.

CONAN: And of course, Powell and Cheney, well, partners back in that first Gulf War, but in the Bush administration, not so happy.

RUDIN: And we've seen that before. Remember in the Reagan administration, Secretary Shultz and Weinberger: Shultz, secretary of state, Caspar Weinberger, Caspar the friendly Weinberger, was secretary...

CONAN: Cap the Knife, I thought.

RUDIN: Yes, the defense secretary, and they did not get along, and it's not unusual. But it is unusual for Cheney to be this vocal and this outspoken about the people he's worked with in the administration.

CONAN: In the meantime, we have some people on the line who think they know the answer to this week's trivia question. The - before Dick Cheney, the person who served both as vice president of the United States and as a member of a president's cabinet, 800-989-8255. Email is And we'll start with Nina(ph), Nina with us from Tucson.

NINA: My guess is Gerald Ford.

CONAN: Gerald Ford. Gerald Ford was, of course, vice president and president, but Ken?

RUDIN: Yes, and he was minority leader in the House for a long time but never served in a cabinet.

CONAN: Nice try. Let's see if we can go next to - this is Will(ph), and Will's with us from New Britain in Connecticut.

WILL: Hi, my guess is George H.W. Bush.

CONAN: George H.W. Bush, obviously served as vice president and, of course, later president.

RUDIN: He was - of course, he was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under Richard Nixon, but back then, that position was not a cabinet position, even though it is now.

CONAN: Ooh, technicality.

RUDIN: Well, you know...

CONAN: Yeah, Clinton elevated it.

RUDIN: That's true, Clinton, but then Bush 43 got rid of it, and then Obama brought it back. I don't mean to be anti-semantic, but it's just, you know...


CONAN: Okay, nice try, Will, a moral victory there for you, but no T-shirt. Let's see if we can go next to - this is David(ph), David with us from Leonia(ph) in Michigan. Is that right?

DAVID: Ionia.

CONAN: Ionia, okay.

DAVID: Two things. Nelson Rockefeller, I think this year. And last week's - it should have been Lucas. He was the first Negro that got...

CONAN: Well, we're not solving last week's trivia question. But go ahead, Ken.

RUDIN: By the way, Lucas was 1986. That's why he's not the first one. Okay. But Nelson Rockefeller was vice president, never served in a cabinet, though.

CONAN: He was, of course, New York governor forever.

RUDIN: Four times, right.

CONAN: Anyway, thanks very much for the call, and let's go next to Jerry(ph) and Jerry with us from Kalispell in Montana - Kalispell.

JERRY: Hello.

CONAN: You're on the air, Jerry, go ahead.

JERRY: Yes, Henry Agard Wallace under Franklin Roosevelt.

RUDIN: That is correct.

CONAN: Ding, ding, ding.

RUDIN: He was FDR's vice president, third - well, actually the second of three vice presidents. And when President Truman became president, Wallace was Truman's secretary of commerce.

CONAN: So stay on the line, Jerry. We'll take down your particulars, and you will be the happy recipient of a political junkie winner's T-shirt in response for your promise to take a digital picture of yourself and send it to us so we can post it on our wall of shame.

UNDENTIFIED WOMAN: All right. I got the phone because he thought you were going to get my - his name and number. He has to go back and listen to the broadcast.

CONAN: Well, you give us your shirt size, and you send your picture, okay?

WOMAN: Okay, will do.

CONAN: All right. Anyway, Jerry a winner there of our fabulous no-prize T-shirt.

RUDIN: His voice changed in the middle of the whole thing. T-shirts do that to people.

CONAN: It was funny how that happened. They do. The excitement is just too much for people. In the meantime, we do have - speaking of excitement - special elections coming up not next Tuesday but the Tuesday after. One of them in New York, curiously, affected by this - last week's hurricane.

RUDIN: Well, ostensibly. I mean, here's the story. The story - this is the New York Ninth Congressional District, two-thirds in Queens, the borough Queens, one-third in the borough of Brooklyn. This is the one that Anthony Weiner held until he...

CONAN: Until he no longer held it.

RUDIN: longer held it. Exactly. This is the race now, the - a solidly Democratic district, three times as many Democrats than Republicans in the district. Republicans have never won the seat. But the Democrat, David Weprin, who is a state assemblyman, announced that he could not participate in a debate the other day because of Hurricane Irene.

And I mean, first of all, the Republican candidate, Bob Turner, had to vacate - leave his house because of the weather. But he still showed up for the debate.

CONAN: And then sent one of his aides to trace the route that the other guy, Weprin, would have had to take. It took him 20 minutes.

RUDIN: Well, what's weird about this race is that - it seems to be about Israel. David Weprin is an Orthodox Jew, and yet Mayor Koch, Ed Koch, the former mayor, a Democrat, is endorsing Turner, the Republican, because he wants to send a message to Barack Obama that he's not solidly pro-Israel enough. So it's kind of a weird dynamic there.

But the Democrats are nervous about it. I still think they hold it. Again, it's September 13th, but it's going to be much closer than anybody thought.

CONAN: Nevada, well, I don't think that's going to be close.

RUDIN: Well, it could be close, and the Republicans would like some good news because they keep losing special elections, as we saw in upstate New York. This is a seat in the northern part of the state. Dean Heller was a member of the Congress there. He's been appointed senator to replace John Ensign, and now there's a race there on September 13th.

The Democrat is state treasurer Kate Marshall, who's doing everything she can to run away from the national Democratic Party, but it looks like the Republicans will keep it. Mark Amodei, who is a former Republican state chairman, seems to be leading that race, and the Republicans surely could use some good news in that.

CONAN: And now, two extraordinary pieces of political rhetoric that we've heard in the past week. One came after the hurricane and earthquake of the past week or so. This is Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, a representative from Minnesota, who said, well, there's a celestial message involved here.


Representative MICHELE BACHMANN: And I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake. We've had a hurricane.


BACHMANN: He said: Are you going to start listening to me here? Listen to the American people.

CONAN: And later she said she was just joking when she said that. It was a humorous reference.

RUDIN: Yeah, a lot of funny jokes about Hurricane Irene, but I mean, a lot of the headlines say that she's blaming God for this, or she's using - utilizing God on this, but she said it was a joke.

CONAN: In the meantime, an extraordinary statement of rhetoric from the other party. Indiana Democrat Andre Carson went to unusual lengths to trash the Tea Party at a jobs event sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.


Representative ANDRE CARSON: Some of the members of Congress right now, the members of the Tea Party movement, would love to see you and me - I'm sorry (unintelligible) - hanging on a tree.

CONAN: Hanging from a tree?

RUDIN: You know, the reason that we - the listeners should know that we talked about whether to air this tape or not. But if a Republican had said something like this, you know, something outrageous like this, we would of course say it, use it, because it just shows the extremes that people have gone to.

Andre Carson is - you know, we're accusing him right here of going a little extreme here by blaming the Tea Party, saying that they promote and support the hanging of African-Americans.

CONAN: Lynching.

RUDIN: Lynching, exactly, and that's a little, shall we say, extreme.

CONAN: And in the meantime, we've sort of glossed over the big political news of the week, and that is the new candidate in the Republican field, Rick Perry has taken a two-digit lead, double-digit lead, over Mitt Romney, the former frontrunner in the opinion polls, who managed to take a shot back at Perry in a speech in Texas yesterday.


MITT ROMNEY: Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don't know how to get us out.

CONAN: Career politician, who could he be talking about?

RUDIN: Well, Rick Perry's been in public office since the 1980s. That could be who he's mentioning, although I do think the big news of the week is George Pataki not running.

CONAN: George Pataki, realize? Oh, well, I guess our national nightmare is just beginning. In any case, we're going to be going next to speak with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, number two finisher in the Iowa straw poll. He'll be joining us on the phone.

If you'd like to ask a question of the Libertarian candidate, one time for president of the United States, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, Stay with us. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.


CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan. Political junkie Ken Rudin is with us, as he is most Wednesdays, and big news for Ken next week: re-launching the "Political Junkie" column and the ScuttleButton puzzle, and Ken, where can people read the column again?

RUDIN: I'm too excited. Oh, it's First column appears Monday, every Monday...

CONAN: Next Monday, that's Labor Day.

RUDIN: It's a holiday. That's true. It'll be the Tuesday, and every Wednesday will be ScuttleButton on the same site.

CONAN: And you can also see the ScuttleButton puzzle at TOTN, at the Blog of the Nation. Right now, the race for the Republican nomination for president, recent polls put Texas Governor Rick Perry ahead of Mitt Romney as the GOP frontrunner, as they take shots at each other.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul says he's in it to win it. It's his third bid for the White House. Earlier this month, he took a close second in the Iowa straw poll. If you'd like to ask Ron Paul a question, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email is You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

And Congressman Paul joins us on the phone, and nice to have you back on TALK OF THE NATION.

Representative RON PAUL: Thank you, good to be with you.

CONAN: And you've defined your campaign as being the candidate who wants to most limit the role of the federal government. You represent a coastal congressional district in Texas, yet you've consistently argued that we should slash FEMA, the federal agency responsible for responding to disasters. In the aftermath of a hurricane, you've repeated that.

PAUL: Yes, I just think it is a serious problem, and that's why I don't think we should let it be dealt with by bureaucrats in Washington because they don't have a very good record. A lot of people would like to paint myself with a brush that says if you don't want the federal government to do it, you don't want to solve the problem.

But sometimes, you know, when the federal government gets involved, they don't do a very good job, and that is my point. Matter of fact, the federal government invites more problem by offering what they call insurance, but - you know, against flooding and wind. But the truth is, is it's no longer insurance if the government says they're always going to bail you out.

So people who enjoy the benefits of living on the beach and close to the water really are guaranteed that their houses will be rebuilt, and they said, well, we can't get insurance otherwise. Well, they can't get it because - it's real expensive because it's very dangerous. So it's a matter of risk. And I think that's an objection that I've had.

And besides, I've had more complaints about FEMA than any other agency, the whole time I've been in Congress, and I have a coastal district, and there's too many stories about what FEMA did down in, with Katrina. So there's so many arguments that that's the most - that's not the most efficient way to deal with a problem like natural disasters.

CONAN: Well, if FEMA does not provide disaster relief, who should?

PAUL: Well, who's FEMA? FEMA is the taxpayers, and it's debt. They're $20 billion in debt already. I think the states should do it. You know, when the - when Katrina was such a disaster, there were a lot of complaints that the Guard units for the states that were involved, many of their Guard unit people were overseas, you know, worrying about war disasters.

Matter of fact, I think it would be better if they were home worrying about our kind of problems here at home. But I'd also bring some of the money home. See, I'm not opposed, under the conditions, because - I was opposed to the concept, even when it was imposed on us by an executive order, not by the Congress, but by executive order.

But I've always said that, you know, once we get involved in a program, you just don't walk away from it if you can come up with another reason - another way of dealing with it.

But we don't have any money. We'd have to borrow the money. We're just kidding ourselves. And I consider the fiscal mess we're in to be very, very serious. So what I have said is, you know, why don't we cut $10 billion a month out of the war going on over in Afghanistan, which is a total disaster, put half of that toward the deficit and put half of it back into our infrastructure or for the needs of the people we have taught to be dependent and actually try to work our way out of this.

So I think that that approach is a very responsible way of trying to deal with both the crisis, as well as our financial mess that we're in.

CONAN: And I don't know if you heard the news today, but President Obama has asked to address a joint meeting of Congress on the evening of September 7th, which coincidentally, according to the White House, happens to be the date of the next GOP presidential debate. Which event do you plan to attend?

PAUL: I hadn't thought much about it because I guess I heard about that just a few minutes ago. But I sort of - you know, I just wonder about motivations because, you know, in a Republican primary, there were people who always tried to upstage the other members.

You know, we had Perry doing something when we had the straw vote, and then we had Palin doing things in order to get attention. So I don't know. I just wonder about the motivation of all this, to pick - I mean, it's very obvious that he's picking at a time when, you know, a debate is going on. Why didn't he do it on Tuesday, you know?

So, I have no idea what the answer to that, but it seems a little bit unusual to do something like that.


RUDIN: Congressman, the headline about a month ago or so was that Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa straw poll with very little mention that Ron Paul finished closely behind her. And the other headline was that Tim Pawlenty drops out of the race.

Then the more recent headline was that Rick Perry is taking over Ron - uh, Mitt Romney's role as frontrunner. As a member of Congress from Texas, you've obviously had some dealings with Rick Perry, and of course we'll see Perry in the debate next week. But what's your sense of how do you - what's your relationship with Rick Perry, and how do you see him as a presidential candidate?

PAUL: Well, I think he's a formidable candidate. I mean, he's the governor of a big state. I don't agree with his politics. You know, the Tea Party people had a candidate running against him for governor, you know, last go-around, and she had no money and got 20 percent.

But I haven't met the governor, and I don't know him personally, and we haven't had any personal dealings. So I can't comment on that. But I know that so many of his political positions are not the same as mine.

CONAN: Could you point out one or two?

PAUL: Well, politically speaking, I mean, he was a chairman here in Texas for Al Gore's campaign in '88, and he was for compelling, you know, 12-year-old, 10-year-old girls all to get inoculations for HPV, and he did that by executive order. I don't believe in executive orders. And that was overridden by the legislature.

And there are quite a few other things in his past that politic - you know, philosophically, I wouldn't agree with. His comment on foreign policy haven't been exactly what I would like.

CONAN: Let's get some callers in on the conversation. We're speaking of course with the presidential candidate Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas, and 800-989-8255. Email Josh(ph) is on the line from Milwaukee.

JOSH: Hey, Congressman, hey Neal. I just had a quick question. Do you feel at all vindicated in the wake of your last campaign that maybe you saw the debt crisis coming from a mile away and that maybe you deserved a little bit more - a platform for speaking in the last election? And I'll take my answer off the air.

CONAN: Thanks, Josh.

PAUL: Well, I've never - I get that question asked a lot, and I never, you know, put it in personal terms, because I think the views that I've expressed are vindicated. I think Austrian economics has been vindicated, something that I have followed since the 1960s, because it was the Austrian economists that predicted that the Breton Woods Agreement, the monetary system, the gold standard, would break down, which it did in August of 1971.

So yes, if you understand Austrian economics, you can anticipate bubbles. You can't tell when the crisis actually will hit because there's other things that determine the precise timing, but we do know that if you run up debt and print money that the dollar will lose value, and it will wipe out the middle class eventually, and that is what I fear we're facing.

That's why I'm such a - so determined to try to pay for the things that we do, whether it's a war or whatever. Of course, I don't want the wars to go on because I think they're also unnecessary.

So yes, I think the philosophy of liberty in the Constitution hopefully has been vindicated to some degree, because it was the predictions by those of us who believe in it that some of these problems would come, and they certainly are here, and they're going to get a lot worse.

I mean, next year the problems, financial problems, are going to be much worse because we're doing nothing in Washington. Nobody will consider cutting the spending, the $10 billion a month, and the war is accelerating in Afghanistan.

This is one place where the American people, the majority want us to come home. They're tired of it all. But both party leaders are all for this. No matter what they say on their campaigns, they get in office, and they pursue this global warmongering stuff that I think is bankrupting our country.


RUDIN: Congressman, one of the most memorable moments of the 2008 campaign, I think, was your clash, I guess, at the debate with Rudy Giuliani over maybe the cause of 9/11. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, what does it mean to you, and do you think - and how do you think that the American people are seeing it? What vantage point do you see that the American people - viewing 9/11 10 years later?

PAUL: Well, I'm saddened by it all because we haven't changed anything, and we've made things much worse. For instance, suicide terrorism is one of the greatest threat we have. People who want to commit these kind of acts, it's so difficult to defend ourselves against. But, you know, before we invaded Iraq for the wrong reason - there was no al-Qaida there, and it had nothing to do with 9/11. But before we invaded Iraq, the Iraqis had never committed any acts of suicide terrorism.

By 2007, they were committing over 300 acts of terrorism against Americans or allies of Americans. So suicide terrorism, our greatest threat, is directly related to our presence in Arab countries and propping up puppet governments in that region. And there's been total denial of this. They won't pay any attention. So we're not safer. We're more broke than ever. And the evidence is out there to explain exactly the direct correlation between our presence over there and the dangers we face.

CONAN: Email from Christopher in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I understand and agree with most of your positions on issues currently concerning the people of the United States. An issue I have not heard you talk about much and which I also didn't see on your website is the environment. I believe certain environmental issues require governmental oversight, things like water sources in federally protected land can be misused and abused if each state is left to fend for itself and regulate itself. What's your stand on the environment? How do you recommend we protect things like water tables and shared water sources, such as the Great Lakes?

PAUL: Well, I think it's an important question because I have written somewhat about this. I don't probably talk about it as much as I should. But my contention is that during the industrial revolution, big government and big corporations became pretty good buddies. And they quite freely polluted our air and our water. I was raised in the city of Pittsburgh. Our rivers were sewers, and our skies were not much better. They were essentially cleaned up with local city ordinances long time before the EPA.

But this could be managed in a free market society if you have strict respect for private property, because if you and I have property next to each other, neither of us have a right to pollute your air or your water. So property rights are very, very important, even when it comes to water. In Texas, they've developed pretty clearly the property rights of oil. So people can't drill oil next to your farm and suck out all the oil under your land because it's your property.

And the laws are written pretty good for that. So property rights can do this. The basic principle that you cannot pollute your neighbor's property is a pretty good one. But I think there are times when you, you know, you do need the government to enforce those laws. The more local, the better. But there will be times when the federal government has to be involved because, you know, our air goes across state boundaries. Water goes from one state to another. So under those circumstances, I think that we should have the federal government involved.

CONAN: Presidential candidate Ron Paul. The political junkie, Ken Rudin, is with us. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. And let's go next to John. John with us from Alexandria, Virginia.

JOHN: Hi. Congressman, I'm calling because I'm an entrepreneur. I bought my own business, and I love doing that. But one of the concerns that I have is that it seems like a lot of the discussion in Washington focuses on what's best for big businesses and, you know, there's talk about people who make lots of money as job creators. But a lot of the proposals that are out there do anything from changing the tax code to altering Social Security so that you can invest in, you know, big businesses don't necessarily affect me.

So I wanted to know, you know, what would you think you could do and what the federal government should do for people like me? And would you be willing to take that to your competitors during the debates and, you know, challenge them to make changes to the tax code and to entitlements that don't just benefit the biggest out there but also benefit those who are, you know, seeking to innovate on their own?

PAUL: You know, I think you're right about that. I think the system in D.C. is very much controlled by big banks and big corporations, the military industrial complex, giant farms that get their subsidies. So they have lobbyists, and they get their tax codes and the regulatory system benefiting them. Very often, corporations come to Washington for regulation, because they know if you're a small businessman, you don't have the same ability to get around the system and have the tax, you know, your tax attorneys and different attorneys.

But in talking about subsidies, though, I don't want any subsidies. So I don't want to give them to the big guys to take advantage of the smaller people. And I want the regulations to be the same way. We should not allow the big companies to dictate - excuse me - the regulations. For instance, on both the Democrats and the Republicans, when they have medical care reforms, they protect drug companies and the insurance companies. And that shouldn't be so. Everybody should be protected equally. Nobody should get any special privileges. Everybody should obey the rules of contracts and private property rights.

CONAN: John, thanks very much for the call.

JOHN: Thank you.

CONAN: And we just have a minute or so left with you, Congressman, but I wanted to ask: Your supporters claim that we in the media don't take you seriously enough. You're dismissed as a second-tier candidate. What do you have to do to be taken seriously as a first-tier candidate? Where are you going to go and win something?


PAUL: Well, there will be plenty of chances pretty soon. We do, you know, pretty darn well in all the straw votes, which proves that we have support. We can raise money. We can organize, and people are energized. But the numbers still have to come out in elections, which probably we'll - the real test will be in January. But from our inside, the campaign organization, we do know that it's easier to raise money. The volunteers are more than ever. The country has shifted. Attitudes have changed. The majority of the American people don't like the war, and they're looking at the monetary system.

CONAN: Well, Congressman Paul, good luck to you on your campaign and thanks very much for being with us again on TALK OF THE NATION.

PAUL: Thank you.

CONAN: Ron Paul, who represents the 14th District of Texas. He's already announced he will not be running for re-election to focus on the presidential campaign. And, well, Ken Rudin, is he going to be accepted as a first-tier candidate?

RUDIN: Well, compared to 2008, he certainly is. The question is whether the party has moved so far to him or whether he's shifted with the times, but he's certainly going to be a much more prominent force than he was in 2008.

CONAN: Political junkie Ken Rudin joins us every Wednesday. Next Tuesday, his column comes back at

RUDIN: Oh, I can't wait. I'm so excited.

CONAN: ...and that ScuttleButton puzzle, too, and he'll be back here next Wednesday. But coming up, the dreaded high school reunion. It took Clarence Page 20 years to work up the nerve to go. Now, he says they're therapeutic. He joins us next. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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