Congressman Ron Paul fired back at an NBC host today for suggesting that he was a fringe candidate in the 2012 GOP presidential race, despite the fact that Paul won another straw poll over the weekend.
After congratulating The Congressman on winning the Republican Leadership Conference straw poll, NBC’s Matt Lauer took it upon himself to “correct” a direct quote from Paul that voters were “coming around to much of what I have been saying for 30 years”.
“I might adjust the word ‘much’ of what you’ve been saying to ‘some’ of what you’ve been saying.” Lauer said, as he flashed up an image of a previous poll in which Paul was ranked lower than four other GOP candidates.
“The other candidates were on the ballot so to say that there’s another poll that shows we didn’t do as well, therefore this doesn’t carry much water I don’t think is quite correct.” Congressman Paul replied.
Lauer then reeled off a list of things, completely out of context, that Paul has said he would endorse.
“You’re a guy who has said you would call for legalizing all drugs including cocaine and heroin, legalizing prostitution, you want to eliminate about half of the federal agencies including energy, health and education, human services, the Department of Homeland Security.”
“How do you convince people that you are not just an interesting fringe candidate?” Lauer then asked.
“To not portray it as you have just done.” Paul fired back.
“I want to legalize freedom. What’s so bad about that? What’s wrong with legalizing choices about your own life, and your liberty and your religious values? What’s wrong with legalizing the Constitution. …Why can you turn around and say everything he’s doing is nuts and crazy?” The Congressman asserted.
After Paul pointed out that everything he says and endorses is based on the Constitution, Lauer changed his attack tactics by suggesting that at age 77, the Congressman would be too old to be president.
Paul responded by reminding Lauer that “It’s the ideas that count …I endorse young ideas.”
The Congressman pinpointed his opposition to “endless, undeclared, unwinnable wars” and the dangers of runaway national debt being “dumped on young people” as the cornerstone of his rising popularity.
Watch the interview:
Paul won the RLC straw poll in New Orleans this past weekend with 612 votes, finishing far ahead of former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who has not even officially entered the race yet. Huntsman came in second place with 382 votes.
Last week Paul joined a bi-partisan group of representatives in filing a lawsuit charging that President Obama made an illegal end-run around Congress when he approved U.S military action against Libya.
Paul expands on his reasons for suing the Obama administration in his latest op ed piece (see below)
The congressman says “it’s time for the president to obey the Constitution and put the American people’s national interest first.”
Ron Paul: Why I’m suing the Obama administration over Libya
There is no issue more serious than war. Wars result in the loss of life and property. Wars are also expensive and an enormous economic burden.
Our Founders understood that waging war is not something that should be taken lightly, which is why Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress — not the president — the authority to declare war. This was meant to be an important check on presidential power. The last thing the Founders wanted was an out-of-control executive branch engaging in unnecessary and unpopular wars without so much as a Congressional debate.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation we have today in Libya.
That’s why I’ve joined several other members of Congress in a lawsuit against President Obama for engaging in military action in Libya without seeking the approval of Congress.
Of course, in 2007, then-Senator Obama spoke passionately about the need to go after the Bush administration for violating the War Powers Act — the very same thing he’s doing now. In fact, while speaking at DePaul University in October of 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama said the following:
“After Vietnam, Congress swore it would never again be duped into war, and even wrote a new law — the War Powers Act — to ensure it would not repeat its mistakes. But no law can force a Congress to stand up to the president. No law can make senators read the intelligence that showed the president was overstating the case for war. No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as the co-equal branch the Constitution made it.”
We are now taking Barack Obama’s past advice and standing up to the executive branch.
Of course, the War Powers Act is hardly an improvement on the U.S. Constitution because it does allow the president to go to war without the approval of Congress. But President Obama refuses to follow this law.
If a president does go to war unilaterally, the War Powers Act requires him to seek Congressional approval within 60 days. The president can get an extension of up to 90 days if he asks for more time — but President Obama did not do this.
His time is up.
The Obama administration recently issued a 38-page paper stating that Obama is not in violation of the War Powers Act because “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.” Under this argument, President Obama could preemptively launch nuclear weapons against any country in the world without Congressional approval. Obviously, this is not what the Founders intended!
But even aside from violating the Constitution, it makes no economic sense for us to be engaged in yet another war overseas — especially during such tough economic times. For years now, we’ve been sending foreign aid to the very same Libyan government we’re now spending $10 million a day to fight. And it has been recently discovered that the Federal Reserve’s bank bailouts even benefited the Libyan National Bank. Now, we’re taxing the American people to bomb the very nation that we taxed them to prop up.
This makes no sense at all.
The Founding Fathers did not intend for the president to have the power to take our nation to war unilaterally without the approval of Congress.
It’s time for the president to obey the Constitution and put the American people’s national interest first.