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. Derek, Honolulu, HI

    Bravo CNN! Way to keep marginalizing the only honest Republican presidential candidate. Why on earth should we care if Ron Paul will run 3rd party when he's going to win the Republican nomination?!!!!

    December 23, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  2. Rafael Rivero

    Did you watch the show at all? This blatant hit piece which focuses on minimally important issues and side comments (and distorts them) does not speak very highly of journalistic integrity

    December 23, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Austin Rose, Chapel Hill, NC

    This seems like an misleading headline and news story, since Paul said he was 99.99% sure this would not be the case on Meet the Press....nice scoop CNN.

    December 23, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Ogiar Dallas, TX

    This article is just trying to freak people out about the possibility of Ron Paul "taking away votes" from some "legitimate" candidate. It's in the same vein as claiming "he's not electable, don't waste your vote" which is purely designed to put him in the margins.

    These attempts will fail. Keep on fanning the flames of Liberty

    December 23, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    For the sake of clarity, I'd like to state flatly why so many of us still continue to regard Ron Paul and his movement as a "fringe" candidacy:

    Ron Paul is known as being a confirmed Libertarian, of course. Nothing so much wrong with that, other than the naiveté that usually accompanies extremism in any form. Many Libertarian principles, applied appropriately, have great value – but carry them too far and you create an unrealistic isolationism that cannot survive or cope in a modern world. His approach to many issues is simply unrealistic.

    But the biggest concern – and one which Mr. Paul continually refuses to respond to – is the association of his movement and support it draws from the “conspiracy theory” fringe of nuts and fruitcakes who believe that a vast global conspiracy has been in place for hundreds of years to create a “new world order” that will enslave all true “patriots”, and that 9-11 was an inside job crafted by evil “insiders” in the U.S. government for nefarious purposes of their own. Idiotic stuff, naturally – but it remains the nuts and bolts of Ron Paul’s original base of support. These “true believers” are convinced that Paul is one of them (and he well might be; he won’t say), and they delight in interpreting every statement and nuance of his to fit their own paranoid, narcissistic worldview.

    – And Mr. Paul’s answer to the reality of this situation is: complete silence. He is wise enough to realize that much of the growth from followers he is now attracting would be appalled to be thought of as having any part of such nonsense, but at the same time he wants to hold on to the core of his original supporters who have to subscribe to fairy-tale conspiracies to give meaning to their existence.

    Ron Paul’s followers are continually extolling his perceived qualities of forthrightness and honesty. If Ron Paul were genuinely forthright and honest, he would set the record straight regarding his true opinion regarding his conspiracy theory advocating supporters.

    The fact that Ron Paul does not clarify this most critical point is demonstration that he is – and always has been – basically just another dishonest, exploitive person out on a power kick, and hardly the "savior" so many would like him to be.

    December 23, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. mheister

    Ron Paul's assertion that the Civil War was "unnecessary" because slavery would have gone away "eventually" shows a truly callous disregard for the enslavement and unimaginable suffering of an entire class of people in this nation. It also falls into the white racist revisionist rhetoric that the Civil War was not about slavery, it was about economics. What Paul's argument tries to slip over is the moral, the spiritual imperative to end slavery that motivated the Abolitionist movement in the United States.

    His criticism of and equivocation about the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s further shows a lack of basic historical knowledge of the Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement of millions of citizens of the United States, and not just in the South. To criticize such historic legislation is to put at least a tacit stamp of approval on such disenfranchisement.

    A man whose moral compass is that far askew has no business being a member of the House of Representatives, let alone holding any higher office in the government of these United States of America.

    December 23, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Patriot Jones

    CNN just like NBC/MSNBC are controlled by those who create the wars that We The People die in. Dr. Paul is openly planning on abolishing the Federal Reserve cartel so therefore he must be smeared. Shame shame shame on these disgraceful people and Power To The Ron Paul Revolution!!

    December 23, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Chuck

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

    No, he said that they should have bought the slaves and freed them like most other countries. This isn't just wrong, it's dishonest.

    December 23, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Rick, White Bear Lake, MN

    Go Ron Paul! Siphon money and votes away from the rest of the lame Republican candidates and ensure victory for the Democrats! Yeah Ron!

    December 23, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. Byron, Alpine, CA

    This article seems somewhat misleading, considering Paul said that he would vote against the Civil Rights Act on the grounds of Property Rights violations. Also, he said the Civil War could have been avoided if all of the slaves were freed by being purchased. The article makes it seem like Paul said it would just go away "eventually"... completely inaccurate and misleading. Why is the mainstream media so bent on slandering Dr. Paul?

    December 23, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "For the good of the GOP, please throw your support behind someone who can really beat the Dems in a general election: Romney, Giuliani, or maybe McCain."

    The problem is that, except for Ron Paul, the GOP candidates are as repugnant as the Democrats. All of them except Dr Paul are tax-and-spend statists who think it right and proper for government to intrude wholesale into, and dominate, the lives of the citizens. The only differences between the Democrats and the Republicans are the ways by which they want to waste the taxpayers' money and the ways in which they want to deprive us of our freedoms.

    December 23, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. PJ, West Bloomfield, MI

    I love how the Ronbots interpret the Congressman's own words as a "hit piece." Hopefully that should tell them something about the man they are worshiping . . . .

    December 23, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Republicans Against Romney, Texas

    As the primaries and caucuses draw near, we are likely to see more hissing and spitting from the Romney campaign as they witness their prospects vanish in Iowa, New Hampshire South Carolina and nationally. In coming days don’t be surprised if you hear Romney supporters insisting that their candidate is the most electable nationally. They are free to make that assertion. However, there is absolutely no evidence to support their claims. All the recent polling suggests that Romney is, in fact, the least electable candidate among republican presidential hopefuls. Do not be fooled by frantic attempts by Romney and company to give the air of electability and inevitability. These are devises used by the desperate and aimed at the gullible. As the heart of Romney’s campaign feverishly pulses its last beats… thrashing for oxygen like a panic-stricken fish out of water… hemorrhaging every last drop of blood out of its wallet … voters would be wise to step back and avoid the chaos and desperation of Romney’s last agonizing moments of his political life.

    December 23, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. Patriot Jones

    December 23, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Brandon, CT

    We need this guy to be our next president.

    Unless of course we want to continue the 'war on terror' and bankrupt ourselves into an economic recession.

    December 23, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. John, Richmond, VA

    What possible purpose in cornbread hell does a monologue about the beginning of the civil war have in this election coverage?
    Health care, Energy, Reasons for being at war, inequality. Can we please get a discussion on these kind of things?

    December 23, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Andrew, Tryon NC

    "Paul also contended that the Civil War had been unnecessary because the United States would have gotten rid of slavery eventually."
    You should really clarify this smear attempt... If you think that you can ethically make such claims in such a blatantly short and un-detailed reporting of the conversation then you are wrong. I don't see how this piece could be interpreted as anything but a foolhardy smear... as i read it i am laughing at its simplistic and ineffective style, while at the same time i am fuming because i see what you are trying to do.
    Who wants war when conflicts can be resolved peacefully?? Especially a civil war where you could very well be forced to kill your own relatives? Come on. Thank you for adding feul to the fire that is the ron paul grassroots campaign. As long as they have garbage like this to keep them going they will be around for a long time, with even more impressive numbers.

    December 23, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. Sam, Lancaster, CA

    Good to hear Dr. Paul is leaving "all options on the table". A vote for Ron Paul is a vote to be free.

    December 23, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Mike, Baltimore, Maryland

    Some are stating or implying that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery.

    The Alabama ordinance of secession reads in part:

    ". . . as it is the desire and purpose of the people of Alabama to meet the slaveholding States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a provisional as well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States,

    Be it resolved by the people of Alabama in Convention assembled, That the people of the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri, be and are hereby invited to meet the people of the State of Alabama, by their Delegates, in Convention, on the 4th day of February, A.D., 1861, at the city of Montgomery, in the State of Alabama, for the purpose of consulting with each other as to the most effectual mode of securing concerted and harmonious action in whatever measures may be deemed most desirable for our common peace and security."

    Some commenters here have implied, and other have clearly stated, that slavery was not an issue in the Civil War? What universe are you from?

    December 23, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Mike

    Nice smear job. God forbid someone states they aren't 100% sure what the future holds. And the slavery thing? Nice. Paul stated it would have been preferable for the government to buy the slaves and release them as opposed to a war. I don't agree with Ron Paul on a while lot of issues but seeing how much contempt the establishment has for him just makes me like him all the more.

    December 23, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. truthseeker

    Real nice CNN deleting comments what about free speech CNN.

    December 23, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Daniel, NY

    Paul clearly has lots of potential. A recent poll of Iowa released just last week had Ron Paul coming in AHEAD of Giuliani! Now talk about what a victory that would be!

    December 23, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Correction to editer –

    "But he would not say he whether would vote against the legislation today."

    Ron Paul infact said that if it was written out in the same way that it was, that he would vote against it, because it invaded private property rights and there for unconstitutional. He made it clear saying it had nothing to do with racism (he is a strong fighter for individual liberty) – he said he would vote the way he would because of his strong stance in obeying the constitution.

    If you can – correct that.

    December 23, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Tony, Wilton, ME

    OH, PLEASE...

    December 23, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. Gerald, Bronx , NY

    I am with everyone else. I saw the interview and saying this is a gross misinterpretation is an understatement. I ask that it be corrected orrewritten or I will no longer support this website or this network.

    December 23, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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