A day after coming in third in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, Ron Paul set his sights on New Hampshire and took aim at Rick Santorum. He also declared he had no intention of leaving the Republican party.
Santorum is a typical “big-government Republican” who is not really conservative, Paul told me Wednesday night. He said that he’s the true fiscal conservative who believes in free-market economics, adding that both Santorum and Newt Gingrich don’t understand that concept.
“I think they think in terms of patching up things, and maintaining the status quo, and don’t rock the boat and you can’t cut anything,” Paul said. However, Paul noted that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney deserved a “little bit of credit” for working in the private sector.
Santorum, a former U.S. senator, finished just eight votes behind Romney in the Iowa caucuses. But Paul, who did well among independents and younger voters in Iowa, says he can bring those votes to the GOP. He also slammed those who tried to vilify his supporters throughout the campaign.
“I thought the party was a broad tent, a big tent, [that] brings people in . . . but aren’t young people pretty important?” he said. “I get real energized when I go to the campuses and talk about economic policy and talk about gold standards and things like this, but they don’t want to invite these people in.”
But while his libertarian views may have brought in independent voters, Paul dismissed the idea of running as an independent.
“Right now I’m doing so well, why would I think about it?” he said. “I was raised in a Republican family. I was elected twelve times to Congress as a Republican.”
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