Ron Paul: Viable GOP 2012 Contenders Cautious

Wednesday, 27 Apr 2011 05:03 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Texas Rep. Ron Paul says fellow Republicans' hesitation to commit to the presidential race might stem from their belief it would be very difficult to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. Paul — who Tuesday announced he is forming a presidential exploratory committee — also said in a CNN interview that running again as a third-party candidate is not his best option.

“They may believe that the president is stronger than most of the polls show,” Paul said Tuesday in an interview on CNN’s “In the Arena” with Eliot Spitzer. “The president is liked a lot — and in politics, being liked is very important. So, maybe they don’t think he is as vulnerable as the polls indicate he might be.”

Paul joined several other GOP hopefuls who have formed presidential exploratory committees, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’ former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain.

Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour bowed out of presidential contention Monday, reportedly because he did not think he could beat Obama.

Paul has run for president twice, in 1988 as a Libertarian Party nominee, and in 2008 for the Republican nomination. Spitzer asked Paul about running this time as a third-party candidate, if he did not snag the GOP nod.

“I would be less likely able to win in the third party because of our system.” Paul said. “It’s hard to get on ballots.”

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