July 6th, 2010
07:07 AM ET
8 years ago

Ron Paul hits government response to BP, defends Steele

Washington (CNN) - With the first tar balls from the Gulf oil spill now washing ashore in Galveston, Texas, Rep. Ron Paul, whose district includes the affected area, said Monday the federal government is not doing enough in the recovery effort.

"They have done a lot to interfere," Paul told National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin on CNN's "John King USA."

He said local residents and state officials in Louisiana and Mississippi have complained about some federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service, have not acted quick enough to relax some regulations to fast-track recovery initiatives.

Federal officials have previously defended their efforts.

Another area of criticism by Paul concerned the deployment of National Guard troops to help in the clean-up.

"If all our states had their guard units back here maybe they would have the manpower to do more to help clean up the beaches and prevent the oil from coming in, but no our guard units are all over the world fighting wars we don't need," said Paul, a critic of the U.S. deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While 17,500 National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states have been authorized to respond to the crisis, currently 1,577 are active, according to
the Obama administration.

Paul has been one of the few the national Republican leaders to come out in support of embattled Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele after Steele
told a fundraiser last week the Afghanistan war was "a war of Obama's choosing" and suggested it was not winnable. Many national Republicans immediately called
for Steele's resignation, pointing out it was in direct contradiction to what they believed, especially since the war started under President George W. Bush
after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"He did not deserve to be punished through the media in a sense that get out, we don't want you. We don't need you. I think the party is doing reasonably well," Paul said on the program.

The former GOP Presidential candidate disagreed with his colleagues Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) who over the weekend blasted Steele and his comments calling them inaccurate, uninformed and unwise.

"Millions of Americans feel frustrated. This war has gone on too long, cost us too much money, cost us billions of dollars, cost us thousands of casualties," Paul said. "People are tired of the war, and it is going badly."

Paul finds himself in unusual company. A USA Today-Gallup Poll last week showed 66% of Republicans supported the war while only 27% of Democrats did. The eleven term congressman said he has not spoken to Steele since the controversy erupted.

Asked about criticism his son, Rand, has received since winning the GOP nomination for the open Senate seat in Kentucky his father said "he got some bad raps...I guess I didn't warn him enough and prepare him enough." Rand Paul found himself in the middle of firestorms after criticizing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, calling President Obama's criticism of BP "un-American"and holding a recent fundraiser in Washington, D.C., which was criticized by some Tea Party members. Some of the members of Congress listed on the invitation as part of the welcome committee for the event voted for the 2008 financial bailout known as TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program. One of Paul's major campaign themes was his opposition to that initiative.

"You can expect it after you win a primary...and beat the estabilshment. You can sort of expect something," is how the elder Paul Monday reacted to some of the criticism weathered by his son.

Rand Paul, whose primary race had drawn a large amount of support from tea party activists both in the state and nationwide, had run as anti-Washington candidate in the primary beating the incumbent state Secretary of State who had won the backing of many state party leaders. Ron Paul said he has refrained from offering his son advice. "I let him run his own campaign."

Filed under: GOP • Michael Steele • Ron Paul
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Dixon

    Why is the GOP not out front with the obvious answer to the gulf oil crisis? Lower the taxes and end regulations is the only answer from the GOP standpoint. In fact, why not drop all regulations on everything. I am sure these loyal companies will be patriotic enough to fix these problems and pass the savings on to those who fight and die for our "U.S.A. interests".

    If we don't make our politicians start working for a living our troubles are going to be with us a long while. It is our own fault since we fall in to their retoric and out right lies daily. The best thing we could do is apply the liable laws to politicians. Make them accountable for what they say. hmmmm

    July 6, 2010 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  2. ZB

    Too much government? Too little government?

    Paul should make up his mind already. Maybe if there was some actual regulation of the oil industry instead of giving them a free hand under the Republicans there would not have been a spill in the first place.

    Like most simple minded Republican/TeaParty/Palinites, first they do their best to destroy and undermine effective goverment and sensible regulation and then they complain that "government" doesn't do enough after the disaster already strikes.

    In America we may have the constitutional right to be stupid and ignorant but why do they have to exercise that right all of the time? zb

    July 6, 2010 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  3. Dixon

    by the way, which GOP member has the plan to pay for all this?

    July 6, 2010 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Ron Paul and his son Rand need to look at their Libertain roots and try to answer the following question - does the corporate world really care about the public? I hope they take a good long look at that since everytime the government has demanded something be done and the businesses complainded, the businesses finally complied and never went out of business. An example is the safety and anit polution equipement that is required; that never drove GM out of business. It was their own foolishness of sticking with SUVs that nearly did.

    PB wouldn't have done much if there hadn't been a huge out cry from the public and the government. Too bad there is no description of what Paul calls "government interference" in the clean up.

    July 6, 2010 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  5. Hopeful American

    Ron Paul is right. The government gets in the way and politicizes everything., I mean look at their threats about charging people, this is insane, any lawyer would tell those guys to stop saying,doing or being around BP related stuff because it may harm you legally. So they take this advice(all of them) and then what, Let Obama clean the spill up?

    July 6, 2010 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  6. mike

    ron paul is just another republican who likes to talk about how he is an independent but is full of crap why is it that our government has to
    clean up there oil spill when texas profits from the oil companies
    does the tax payer pay for the car companies when they recall there
    cars because of a safety issue lets get real good old ron is feeling the heat from his voters and now he has to make some noise but will tell
    his voters in the next breath to keep on drilling I say let them drink there

    July 6, 2010 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  7. Hangar 13

    Mr. Paul is right, the federal government's constitutional role in disaster relief is to stay out of the way, and the administration has failed miserably in that very easy task.

    July 6, 2010 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  8. glenda

    What more do the people of this country want the Government to do? Every time the President asks for money to do anything the Republicans Yell that he is creating Bigger Government, spending money we don't have......if the GOP has any better IDEAS then let them go down to the Gulf and help clean up this mess, run the skimmers, since this Oil Spill started I haven't seen any Washington Republicans down their doing anything all they do is grip and complain that Obama isn't doing enough.......even if Obama swam down to the pipes that are leaking and capped it single handedly the Republicans would find something negative to say about it.......that he didn't do it right.......I hope the people of this country aren't so Blind as to see that the Republicans have NO answers to the problems this country faces and the Tea Bagger canidates are radical fanatics......come on people remember the last administration and the mess that they started and stop this madness.........

    July 6, 2010 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  9. glenda

    And where was all these Republicans when Bush was spending all our money in Iraq, that WAR was uncalled for, legal, very costly both in American lives and money.....Bush started both these Wars and gave up in Afganistan to get involved in Iraq......now Obama has to clean up the mess Bush started and all the Republcans can do in complain.....Obama might be Blaming the Bush Administration but the GOP continues to Blame Obama for the messes of their own President........crazy GOP

    July 6, 2010 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  10. Frank in valparaiso indiana

    A real Texan would know the Federal government is not in the awl bidness.

    Ron Paul is a senile old coot. Kid ain't much brighter.

    July 6, 2010 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  11. Hall for Obama

    Is not the National Guard part of the Government? You want them to come back and help clean up the mess BP made but you do not want BIG GOVERNMENT. Make up your mine I can’t keep up with your flip and flop. You think Steele is making a correct statement when he says this is an Obama War, got me really worry if you had got to be President we would be in a world of trouble. I guess if we had a terrorist attach over here, PLEASE tell me what solution you would put in place. What you are saying is we do not need a National Guard Unit because all we need them to do is keep the Unite State Clean. THIS IS THE REASONS YOU WILL NEVER, EVER BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITE STATE OF AMERICA!

    July 6, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  12. MoJo

    Gee. I'd have thought Ron Paul would like the govt to stay out of this and save money. Where's his policy about small govt now? Further proof (besides Piyush Jindal and the Rand spawn) that the GOP has no clue about anything connected to reality or helping the country as a whole.

    July 6, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  13. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    And this GOP fool is in a position to know anything? Just another ignorant hot wind from the GOP lunatic fringe.....

    July 6, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  14. TomInRochNY

    I like Ron Paul. I'd support him if his economic theories weren't so incredibly out of wack. I don't think his son is going anywhere though.

    July 6, 2010 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  15. jim

    interfere? what? in what way? by demanding action? by demanding the multi-billion dollar fund be set aside? how have they interfered?

    July 6, 2010 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  16. Gil

    Ron, and what did your party do to prevent this from happening in the first place? Deregulation of the oil industry, big business and Wall Street have created the mess you all have now put our country in. How anyone could vote for a republican conservative, moderate or liberal I will never know. You are all zombies falling in line to always vote no when your McConnel, Boehner and Graham tell you too. Start thinking what is right for Americans!

    July 6, 2010 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  17. Obama administration response is anemic

    The Obama administration's response to the BP oil spill has been and continues to be anemic. I spoke to two engineers over the holidays and they both said they could determini the flow rate of the spill in less than half a day. Obama's people cannot make decisions quick enough; and there is tons of forein aid offered since april that has yet to be accepted - all under the guise of lame excuses.

    The fact of the matter is that Obama would rather play golf than deal with the pressing issues of his administration–and he has learned that he need not do anything except eloquently blame other people.

    The economy tanks – blame Bush
    Jobs do not materialize as he promised – blame Bush
    Health care reform is flawed – blame the GOP
    Immigration reform and border security is nil – blame arizona
    Afghan continues unabated – blame the Michael Steele

    July 6, 2010 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  18. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Thanks to Ron and Rand, I have learned a lot about Libertarians. Evidently Libertarians are not allowed to watch TV and see what BP has done to the environment, as the Pauls defend BP's lying, falsifying claims, not allowing media access to workers and certain areas of the coast. They have made BP the victim despite their own wrongdoing, and pretty much ignored the millions of people's lives BP has destroyed in the Gulf. I had hoped Ron was a little smarter than Rand, but it appears he is as out of touch as his little boy. To me, Libertarians are un American.

    July 6, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. Jon Die

    "With the first tar balls from the Gulf oil spill now washing ashore in Galveston, Texas, Rep. Ron Paul, whose district includes the affected area, said Monday the federal government is not doing enough in the recovery effort."

    The federal government that Ron Paul and the Tea Party want to abolish isn't doing enough? This is Joe Barton all over again.

    July 6, 2010 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    And this crackpot could do better?

    July 6, 2010 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  21. Chuck Anaheim, Ca.

    Just showing his love of big business. He should crawl back under the cow patty he crawled out from under.

    July 6, 2010 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. Keith in Austin

    Anyone that can honestly say that Obama's response to the oil spill has been efficient is living in a liberal fantasy world.

    With respect to Immigration Reform, last week Mexican drug cartel bullets sprayed the courthouse in El Paso TX killing 6 people and all Barry seems to be focused on is sueing the State of Arizona for enacting a law protecting its citizens that is clearly documented in the U S Constitution.

    Although Ron Paul is not a person I would vote for because of his Isolationist views, he is right on the money regarding Obama in these two vastly important issues facing our Nation!

    July 6, 2010 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  23. Louisiana Man

    And what would the illustrious Ron Paul have done differently?
    Call his likewise illustrious son, Rand, for advice?
    It is soo easy to close the barn door after the exit.

    Just another ploy to disparage Obama in any form and to sway the public's attention from the horrendous and failed policies of the previous Republican administration.

    If spineless and gutless politicians would have shown some courage and common sense, GWB's wars would be non existence.

    July 6, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  24. confucius

    Generals nor political hack chairmans dictate policies on war

    July 6, 2010 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  25. hangemhi

    Such hypocrites, go along with W to start 2 wars and now criticize dems for not finishing it in a responsible manner.

    July 6, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
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