December 23rd, 2007
03:55 PM ET
15 years ago

GOP contender will not rule out third-party run

GOP hopeful Ron Paul on NBC's Meet The Press Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Texas Rep. Ron Paul refused to rule out a third party bid Sunday if he fails to win the Republican Party presidential nomination.

When Tim Russert of NBC’s 'Meet the Press' asked the Texas congressman if he’d consider an independent bid, he replied: "I have no intention of doing that."

When pressed by Russert to state unequivocally that he would not, Paul demurred. "I deserve one weasel wiggle now and then, Tim!"

Paul lost to Phil Gramm in the 1984 Texas Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. Four years later, he ran for president as the Libertarian Party nominee.

The Republican presidential contender - who has an intensely loyal national following - is pulling in record fundraising sums, prompting speculation that he may continue his White House bid even if he does not fare well among Republican primary voters.

Paul is currently averaging single-digit showings in most recent surveys of GOP voters nationally and in early-voting states.

During the Sunday interview, Paul criticized the Civil Rights Act, pointing out that Barry Goldwater opposed it. But he would not say he whether would vote against the legislation today. "I get more support from black people than any other Republican candidate, according to some statistics," he added.

Paul also contended that the Civil War had been unnecessary because the United States would have gotten rid of slavery eventually.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Ron Paul
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Lynn, Reno, NV

    His supporters can crow about Ron Paul, but on Meet the Press we saw the real man. He speaks against corruption and then rationalizes his use of earmarks for his district. He waffles just like John Kerry as well on a whole host of issues that Russert brought up. He says he loves the Constitution and is a strict constructionist, but then thinks it is fine to advocate amending the Constitution in the places where he doesn't like it. Ron Paul's whole agenda is set up to let corrupt corporations have free reign, and reduce this great country to corrupt fiefdoms like in Afghanistan where warloads hold the power because there isn't a government strong enough to deal with them. Ron Paul has a terrible vision for this nation. It was tried under the Articles of Confederation and failed. It was a civil and economic disaster for our new nation. That is why we have a Constitution that advocates a strong federal government. We need power in both the states and the federal government, not just in the states. Local control will just bring local tyranny.

    December 23, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Kobe

    Ron Paul did rule out running as an independent candidate. He stated that nothing is absolute, but he was 99.9% sure he would not run as an independent. CNN you are misrepresenting this story. You should retract this ticker.

    December 23, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Steven in Charleston, SC

    "Paul also contended that the Civil War had been unnecessary because the United States would have gotten rid of slavery 'eventually.' "

    This is where Paul shows how dangerous his "kill the government" approach truly is. Is his comment true? Probably. Is it a justification for taking a hands-off approach? Absolutely not, because it would have allowed for an extension of the marginalization and enslavement of a segment of our population.

    Is government and intrusion sometimes the problem? Yes. But let's be careful about absolutes. Sometimes people need help, and it is ok for our government - which, btw, is supposed to come FROM the people - to lend a hand from time to time.

    December 23, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Megan, Boynton Beach, FL

    Such honesty and refusal to pander to voters is very refreshing, and extremely rare in politics. Whether you agree with everything he says or not, you have to respect and appreciate a politician who actually has the guts to tell the truth.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
    – George Orwell

    December 23, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    I doubt it...if he goes third party all that money he has raised won't be available to the GOP for the general election.

    Everyone knows the only reason for his campaing anyway is to obtain donations from more liberal Republicans and Indepenedents–and we his bid failed–use those funds to support the "electable" candidate in the general elections.
    What a genius the Chairman, RNC is!!
    Of course he Paul did go independent–that would really mess up their plans, and yank away some pretty necessary financial aid to combat John Edwards. Too bad–looks like Mr. Chairman and Mr. President may have underestimated Mr. Pauls potential to pull the rug out.

    December 23, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Keith, Manchester NH

    Wow, talk about libel. Ron Paul didn't say that the US would have gotten rid of slavery "eventually." He said that the US should have done what every other western nation had already done and simply buy out the slaves and set them free, thereby avoiding a war that killed 600,000 people.

    He also said that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act as written because it infringed upon the private property rights of business owners, but that he supports integrated public institutions and would vote for a Civil Rights Act that respected property rights.

    Reading your story you appear to present a very slanted view of an extremely principled man.

    If you have any integrity you will correct your story. It is inaccurate. I watched the interview, and I know what was said.

    December 23, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. Ron Bradford, Greensboro, NC

    Is that the best article you can write? Why not say Ron Paul
    didn't rule out beating his wife. You lamestream types
    make me sick to my stomach.

    December 23, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. T. Konek, Fairfax, VA

    According to this article, one would think that the US economy was firing on all cylinders and that the US was friends at peace with all the nations of the world. The fact that this reporter refused to focus on Ron Paul's stance on the important issues of the election gives a very unfavorable opinion of the reporter and the editorial policies of the network.

    December 23, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Tom, Lake Worth, FL

    Answer this: How does being anti-war suddenly not extend to being against a horrid and unnecessary war fought in our own backyards that killed 600,000 American soldiers – the reverberations of which we still feel today?

    And then ask yourselves this: How was every single country in the world able to get rid of African slavery without fighting a war? Then, do some reading and research.

    Kudos to Ron Paul for being honest enough to comment on an issue that other politicians wouldn't dare to touch. It took a special person to get me to register Republican again after the Bush disaster. If he doesn't get the nomination, I'm staying home on Nov. 4.

    December 23, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Angelo Pittsburgh, PA

    Spin Rebecca, Spin:
    You Rebecca, like many of your peers, miss the real message that Congressman Ron Paul brings to America. Ron Paul is a true Republican. Maybe you haven't been alive long enough or are not inclined to "research" what the Republican Party originally stood for? Ron Paul is true to his word. He's proven that in ten terms in Congress. And he will bring us back to our roots of a free and prosperous nation FOR ALL Americans. FYI: The Republican Party will be begging Ron Paul to be their candidate in April. He will be the most Popular President America has ever seen.

    December 23, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Mitch Ingram

    Many Historians consider Lincoln nothing more then a war criminal, the states had the right to secede and would have returned to the Union in due time. If you want to attack a candidate you really need to know some historical background. Also if your going to cover an interview you need to point out the positive points as well, such as Paul's capability to rebuttal all accusations, and his positive stance on how to cut spending. Go vote for hucklebee.

    December 23, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Ian, Newington, CT

    Are you kidding me?! That was the most absurd hit piece I've ever seen. You completely took EVERYTHING YOU POSTED out of context to make it sound like some terrible comment. Of course you probably watched the interview waiting for something to take out of context, it's quite obvious. How about posting his entire responses to the issues brought up? That would make journalistic sense and be ethical, but of course your not interested in that.

    To everybody who is going to react negatively to this post, watch the actual interview online. It will explain everything.

    December 23, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Paul, Olympia, WA

    I was intrigued by Ron Paul's third party prospects back in the summer. It was a very interesting idea. But during September, on MSNBC, Ron Paul completely shot this idea down. I figured he wouldn't run now. If it took an average person like me to figure this out three months ago, how come it still takes AP/CNN/FOX/MSNBC pundits three months to keep asking this, get the same "99.9% chance I won't do it" and somehow *STILL* keep asking? What part of 99.9% don't you understand? Well, actually, scratch that. What part of $20 Million don't you understand? Why the heck would the top Republican fundraiser need to run third party?

    December 23, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Adam Weinberg - Winston-Salem, NC

    He said "wiggle", not weasel. And I wouldn't bring it up except that the entire piece (particularly the latter half) seems to be directed at influencing the reader to think poorly of Ron Paul in its lack of specificity.

    He never said slavery would have been abolished "eventually". He said many other things, but you quoted none of it and inserted a quotation that absolutely is not present in the Meet The Press interview.

    It is very transparent that this misquotation was fabricated to draw away attention from the real issues presented in this interview: foreign policy, civil liberties and economic policy.

    You should correct these misquotations, they're dead wrong and can be contradicted easily by anybody with a video recording of the Tim Russert interview.

    December 23, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. LT Jon Olathe, KS

    LOL another sloppy CNN attempt to attack Ron Paul...

    He criticizes the Civil Rights Act not because of what it attempted to do, but because it basically said that the federal government has the power to tell you what to do on YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY!

    His statement about the Civil War was:

    1. Every other western country ended slavery without a civil war.

    2. The monetary cost and the cost of life could have easily been put to the greater good and ended slavery peacefully.

    3. The Civil War was about the federal government taking power from the states. That issue just manifested itself in the form of the debate over slavery.

    Study history, before the civil war people were loyal to their states before the country. People need to realize that the USA is an alliance of 50 SOVEREIGN STATES (France is a "State", England is a "State", Germany is a "State")

    CNN need to quite using their obviously poor understanding of American history, and their poor excuse for journalism to slander the good Doctor.

    December 23, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Josh Hartman, Folsom CA

    You guys sure do spend a lot of time on the "3rd party" thing. I don't think I've ever seen a CNN interview with Dr. Paul where they didn't ask the 3rd party question.

    I'm not sure where CNN gets the idea that it's viewers/reader care to hear the same question brought up over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Who cares if he does or doesn't run 3rd party!? Get over it!

    How about maybe covering some issues, CNN? Or are the actual issues beyond the scope of your journalism ethic?

    December 23, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Josh, Ann Arbor, MI

    I think Ron Paul has a better chance of winning the Republican nomination than most reporters give him credit for. That said, as a supporter, if he doesn't win the nomination, I hope he runs on a third party ticket. Unfortunately, I doubt he will do so – I think he learned how hopeless doing so is when he tried it 20 years ago.

    On using the Civil War to end slavery, I think he had a good point that every other nation in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war, and that it cost 600,000 American lives in the war. He proposed another method (which the British used) that could have been implemented immediately and probably would have cost less than the war – simply buying all the slaves and setting them free.

    December 23, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Leslie Birdwhistell, Bowling Green, KY

    First off, Dr. Paul absolutely did not use the word "weasel" during this interview. Please check the tape and correct your statement. It appears to me he said "wiggle".

    Secondly, you completely mischaracterized Dr. Paul's answer to the Civil War question. He gave a thoughtful, reasoned response to a question that came out of left field. The write-up on this issue amounts to nothing more that yellow journalism.

    I found it amusing that Mr. Russert avoided the topics of Iraq and monetary policy in favor of questions such as these. "Exactly when did you stop beating your wife, Congressman?"

    December 23, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Andrew, Pesnacola Florida

    One word. Wow.

    And I don't mean that in a good way.

    December 23, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Brent Burk, Schertz, Texas

    So, 99.9% isn't "ruling out"? I don't understand.

    December 23, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Mike, Sudbury MA

    "When pressed by Russert to state unequivocally that he would not, Paul demurred. "I deserve one weasel now and then, Tim!""

    He said I deserve one WIGGLE, not weasel.

    December 23, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Kurt, Arlington, TX

    Thanks for reporting on Ron Paul's Meet the Press appearance. You mischaracterized his statements about the Civil War terribly, however. A war is a terrible way to do anything. The bitterness that descended from that war and its unimaginable death and destruction persists to this day. We can all be allowed to wish that it had ended much more harmoniously and without the increase in federal power that resulted from it. People of every race and creed, especially those most disadvantaged and wronged, would benefit from more liberty and less government force. On Meet the Press, Dr. Paul offered one possible peaceful ending to slavery that would have resulted in NO death and INCREASED freedom and prosperity for ex-slaves. Standards of ethical journalism should encourage you to amend your article to clarify.

    December 23, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. J, Seattle, WA

    Finally! A blog on Ron Paul!

    December 23, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "Paul also contended that the Civil War had been unnecessary..."

    Not only was it "unnecessary," there was no legal foundation for it either. Nothing in the original Articles of Confederation of 1777 made that Confederation either individually or collectively indissoluble, nor does the Constitution of 1789. In fact, Article, Section 10, of the Constitution says, in part, "No state shall, without the consent of Congress, ... enter into any agreement or compact with another state, ... or engage in war, unless actually invaded..."–by engaging in an armed invasion of the southern states, the North, by its own Constitution, sanctioned the creation of the Confederacy and the right thereof to defend itself from invasion.

    Further, since the Tenth Amendment says "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." and since the Constitution contains no provision allowing the Federal Government to forcibly prevent any state from leaving the Union, instigation of the "Civil"–actually, it was nothing of the sort, in any sense of that word–War by Lincoln was unconstitutional.

    Fundamentally, the War Between the States was the invasion, ruin, and occupation of a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America.

    December 23, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Victor, Nashville, Tennessee

    Paul also contended that the Civil War had been unnecessary because the United States would have gotten rid of slavery “eventually.”

    Actually, Paul said that war wasn't necessary to end slavery, and pointed out that most nations had abolished slavery at that point through means that did not involve war. He pointed out that in Britian, the state bought the slaves and freed them. Thank you once again for revealing mainstream media bias to us all.

    December 23, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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