Presidential hopeful Ron Paul says his rivals’ militant stances on “the defense of liberty” would make it difficult for him to support any of them for president should he not get the Republican nomination, because their positions would lead to bigger government. But the Texas congressman also told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto Wednesday that despite these concerns, he probably would not run as a third-party candidate.
“I would have trouble with what I heard last night because it is almost opposite of the defense of liberty that I’m talking about,” Paul told Cavuto, referring to Tuesday night’s presidential debate. “I mean, the Republican Party is supposed to be a party, you know, of defining small government — but when it came to the civil liberties, and the Patriot Act, and the invasion of privacy, and the Fourth Amendment — all these things — they wanted more government.
“It is the perception that you have to be more militant than the next guy. . . . Sometimes they change their positions — I would have to be convinced that their position has changed,” Paul said. “But from what I hear now, I think it would be very difficult for me to get very enthusiastic about any of them. I think time will tell, and who knows what will evolve.”
Cavuto then asked Paul whether his problems supporting others in the field of GOP contenders might lead him to run as a third-party candidate.
“Well, I don’t like to talk in absolutes — so I don’t talk in absolutes — but the odds of that happening are so slim that it is very close to an absolute,” Paul said. “My trouble is, I guess, I can be accused of less loyalty to political parties than others. I think political parties are vehicles and what you believe in, and your oath of office, and what the principles are of the Constitution and Bill of Rights — that has a higher priority for me — so I put loyalty to the party down.
“One time Ronald Reagan asked me to change my vote and I explained to him that I had promised in the campaign to vote a certain way, and I`m sorry, but I wouldn`t be able to do it. He was very, very respectful, and understood it, and didn’t then try to intimidate me in any way,” he said. “So I think that is the way it should be, but, unfortunately, the loyalty to the party should be secondary to loyalty to your oath of office.”
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