Washington (CNN) - Rep. Ron Paul was at the center of one of the most memorable moments of Monday night's "CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate" when a member of the audience shouted "Yeah!" in response to a question asking whether a critically ill person without health insurance should be left to die.
In an interview Wednesday the Texas congressman, who was being asked the question when the outburst happened, responded to critics who said his response lacked compassion.
"You know, it's so overly simplified to explain a full philosophy on how you care for people in 30 or 60 seconds," Paul said Wednesday on CNN Newsroom.
Paul continued, "The freer the system, the better the health care. For somebody to turn around and say there's one individual who didn't have this care, you know, all of a sudden you hate people and you're going to let them die? I spent a lifetime in medicine. To turn that around like that is foolish."
Paul went on to say that of all the Republican presidential contenders, he was uniquely positioned to speak out on the government's role in providing medical care. Paul is a licensed medical doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.
"I understand it differently," Paul said. "I want the maximum medical care and the maximum prosperity for everybody, and it doesn't come from the big government welfare and bankruptcies that we have now."
He continued, "Nobody can compete with me about compassion because I know and understand how free markets and sound money and a sensible foreign policy are the most compassionate systems ever known to mankind."