Paul primary victory unlikely, candidates agree
December 29th, 2011
06:47 PM ET
3 years ago

Paul primary victory unlikely, candidates agree

(CNN) – Though the Republican presidential candidates differ on whether they would support Ron Paul as their party's nominee, they agree it is a choice they will never have to make.

"He's not going to, Wolf," Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" on Thursday. "It's never going to happen. Never going to happen, Wolf. It is never going to happen."

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Bachmann - who has focused on campaigning in Iowa - did not confront what her rival, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman - who has focused in New Hampshire - called a "hypothetical" question.

"If Ron Paul would get to the finish line, I'd be happy to support him, but he's unelectable, mostly because of his world view," Huntsman said in an earlier interview on the program.

The candidates' comments come as Paul has seen stronger numbers in state polls, including the CNN/Time/ORC International survey released on Wednesday. In Iowa, which caucuses next Tuesday, Paul is in second place with 22 percent, while both Bachmann and Huntsman are in the single digits.

But with the surge has come greater scrutiny towards Paul's 30-plus years in the public arena, including incendiary newsletters from two decades ago, which he denies writing and reading, as well as towards foreign policy positions very different from others in the GOP field.

"I can't buy the isolationist views. I can't buy [someone] who's not going to be engaged with the world," Huntsman said of Paul.

Supporters see the contrasts as a key part of the candidate's appeal, alongside the strict line he draws on government action and spending - which he suggests draws unease from his rivals.

"So I think they see me as a challenge for the status quo," he told CNN's John King in an interview last week. "There's a lot of people I challenge, everybody from the military industrial complex, to the banking system, to the bailouts, to our foreign policy."

A request for comment from the Paul campaign went unanswered.

Earlier on Thursday, Huntsman's campaign - which has primarily focused criticism on President Barack Obama and rival former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney - released a web video which asked, "Can New Hampshire voters really trust Ron Paul?"

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday called Paul's positions on foreign policy and other topics "totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American."

"I think the choice of Ron Paul or Barack Obama would be a very bad choice for America," Gingrich told Blitzer in an interview from Iowa. Gingrich is the only candidate to say he would not support Paul as a GOP nominee.

Also touring Iowa, Romney said he would support Paul.

"I would vote for him," Romney said on Wednesday, adding that, on some positions, "I don't agree with what he says."

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, told Blitzer he would also support Paul, though "I'd have to take a lot of antacids when I go into the voting booth and vote for him."

Also see:

Occupy vs. Ron Paul

Dole calls old Iowa allies to push Romney

Gingrich's 'wild and wooly' Iowa tour

Romney's Iowa confidence grows

Perry ad in Iowa calls GOP rivals DC-insiders


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Jon Huntsman • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. cam2

    The only one who can go up against Obama is Ron Paul. Most Americans are sick of endless wars, therefore all of the Republican neocon candidates (Newt, Romney, Bachmann, Santorum) will fail

    December 29, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Woman In California

    Never in a million years would I vote for this man. Why on earth would anyone want a president this old? Age affects all of us and his time has come and gone. Why can't he and his supporters accept this?

    December 29, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. The LONE OKIE

    If you would get rid of government, it would be anarcy...

    December 29, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans voting for people they do not agree with, what's more republican than that? Can you imagine Mittens voting for someone he spent $$ millions in Iowa to trash?

    December 29, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Josie Scott

    Ron Raul 2012

    December 29, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. Kaiser

    Yes, the Establishment candidates have to make sure they're all in lock-step regarding Paul's "un-electable" status. If he gets the nomination, how will they ever be able to continue bombing the foreigners and spending the United States in to financial oblivion?

    December 29, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. Brian

    They want him out of the way, the establishment that is. How about letting the people decide for once?

    December 29, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Marc

    Another great hit piece. Keep'em coming.

    December 29, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. James

    One thing for sure, Bachman, you arent going to win the party's nomination.

    December 29, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  10. Marc

    You can almost sense the desperation in Bachmann's words.

    December 29, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |