Ron Paul
Ron Paul Photo by AP
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Texas Congressman Ron Paul seems to be the new 'maverick' in the race to Washington, picking up the nickname was bestowed upon John McCain during the 2008 elections. The 76-year-old has never hesitated to voice his own strong - and often Libertarian opinions - on a given matter, even if it puts him in the minority – such as standing out against the war in Iraq and former President George Bush's Patriot Act. He has been considered by many to be the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party Movement.

His foreign policy stance has angered many Republicans, particularly with regard to his call to cut assistance to countries including Israel, his suggestion that Islamic extremists' threats to attack the U.S. was due to the latter's interference in their region, and his declaration that Western reactions to Iran's contentious nuclear program were "blown out of proportion" (“Fox News Sunday”, November 2011).

Birthday
August 20, 1935

State
Texas

Current position
Congressman in Texas's 14th congressional district

Chances of winning party nomination
In February 2011, tycoon Donald Trump declared there was no way Paul would be chosen. Paul does not seem to be deterred, however, and his support is growing ahead of the primaries with him now placing third behind Romney.

Quotes:

On Israel

"I thought what was happening made my point that it’s not in Israel’s best interests to be so dependent on us because they give up their sovereignty, and then we tell them what to do. So we’re in charge. They have to listen to us. They get all this money, and then if we decide that the balance should go to the Palestinians rather than Israel, then a lot of trouble comes from this.

So I thought it gave me a perfect time to argue the case for non-intervention, and that is, let the countries over there settle their disputes not done with American money. I mean, just think how many dollars we spend trying to buy peace over there. The more we spend, the poorer we get, and of course, we never see the results. We don’t see peace.

We shouldn’t be deciding borders over there. I’d rather worry about our own borders here at home, and worry about our people here at home. So I don’t think we, as American politicians, should be dictating the peace process".  (May 2011, Fox news)

On foreign policy
"We manufactured fear about Saddam, Al Qaida and Ahmadinejad. It is commonplace for the would-be tyrants to create fear on purpose so that people will actually rush to the government saviors, demanding safety with a willingness to sacrifice liberty.

Fear is constantly being manufactured by our leaders, Republicans Democrats, by invoking a current "Hitler" about to attack us: Saddam, Ahmadinejad, the Taliban, the communists, al Qaeda, or whomever. This fear is required to get the people's support for fighting unnecessary wars and supporting the military industrial complex. The fear is concocted.

The war is very clearly not necessary. The results are devastating to our security and our prosperity. The real fear ought to be directed toward our own leaders and instigators of our policies. Pres. Bush constantly preached war while couching all his speeches in freedom-loving language.

It was always because we were free and prosperous that Muslim radicals wanted to kill us. The real reason was never hinted at: that it was a reflection of our failed foreign policy.
(Book "Liberty Defined", April 2011)

On 9/11
"Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years.... I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said, "I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier." They have already now since that time have killed 3,400 of our men, and I don't think it was necessary....  They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and free. They come and they attack us because we're over there. What would we think if other foreign countries were doing that to us?"
(May 2007, GOP Debate in South Carolina)

On the assassination of Al-Qaida man Anwar Al-Awlaki
"No, I don't think that's a good way to deal with our problems,” Paul said in a videotape of the questioning by reporters. Awlaki “was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the ‘underwear bomber.’ But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys. I think it's sad.”
(September 2011, meeting with reporters)

On taxes
And the income tax should be cut to zero. "The income tax is based on the principle that the government owns everything, and they allow you to keep a certain percent. So people on the Hill, even Republicans, say, 'Well, we can't cut taxes 'cause that'll cost the government money.' Well, it's your money! How can I say that it's costing government if I give you more of your money back?"
(April 2011, Interview to "Esquire" magazine)

On cutting the U.S. military budget
"We have enough weapons to blow up the world about 20, 25 times. We have more weapons than all the other countries put together. And we want to spend more and more and you can't cut a penny? I mean, this is why we're at an impasse. I want to hear somebody up here willing to cut something, something real", he said, adding that "this budget is in bad shape, and the financial calamity is going to be much worse than anybody ever, you know, invading this country. Are they going to invade this country? They can't even shoot a missile".
(Republican debate in Las Vegas, October 2011)

On evolution
"Well, at first I thought it was a very inappropriate question, you know, for the presidency to be decided on a scientific matter. And uh, I um, I think it's a theory — the theory of evolution. And I don't accept it, you know, as a theory. But it really doesn't bother me, it's not the most important issue for me, to make the difference in my life, to understand the exact origin. I think the creator that I know, uh, you know created us, every one of us and created the universe, and the precise time and manner and uh, you know, I just don't think we're at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side.
(December 2007)

On himself

"Once you say, 'Well, you know, we live in the real world and sometimes you have to give in a little bit,' then you're never yourself, you're never your own person, and they'll badger you to death. So it's much easier for me to follow a set of principles than fussin' and fumin' on knowing exactly when you're supposed to throw in the towel."

(April 2011, Interview to "Esquire" magazine)


Jewish Republicans on Ron Paul:

Noah Silverman, congressional affairs director at the Republican Jewish coalition, on Ron Paul's call to cut foreign assistance, including to Israel:

"We reject his views to sever the security assistance to Israel. It's rejected not only by Jewish Republicans, but at the House of Representatives on bipartisan basis, it's clear how marginal he is to the views of the GOP.

Given the comments he's made, it indicates a closed mind on the issue. So we don't try to convince him, but we reach out to his colleagues to make sure hos views remain marginal.
As for his claim he cares for Israel and it's for Israel's best - the memorandum of unerstanding is the actual existing framework of the Israeli US security relationship. The idea that we will unilaterally impose a new framework just shows that Israel's perspective is not one he takes seriously."