Going to the Tonight Show the night before the big vote seemed to work wonders for Mike Huckabee. Will it work wonders for Ron Paul?
Perhaps the most interesting part was that neither Jay nor Paul felt afraid to go into perhaps Paul’s most controversial area, his conention that U.S. policies in the Middle East spur terrorism.
JAY LENO: Let me ask you something about this terrorist thing, and clear this up, because you hear things secondhand. You said that we were to blame?
RON PAUL: No, no, not really.
JAY LENO: Okay.
RON PAUL: Our policies have a lot to do with it. The people who are to blame are the thugs.
JAY LENO: You’re not talking about 9/11?
RON PAUL: Yeah, I’m talking about 9/11. The thugs that killed our people, that came over here, they’re a hundred percent to blame. But that’s sort of like saying if somebody gets murdered, the murderer is a hundred percent responsible. But people always look for motives. If you’re looking for the murderer, you have to know motives. So we have to look for the motives of these people who go insane to try to kill us. And the motives are related to the fact that we occupy their countries. Even before 9/11, we were plenty — a lot involved in the Middle East. That is very significant. I do not believe for a minute that they come here only because we’re free and prosperous.That isn’t the case. There may be a few, but you can’t motivate a people to do that. So you and I, the American people, they’re not responsible. But some of our bad policies in the Middle East now for 50, 60 years — we used our CIA to install the shah in Iran. If somebody did that to us, we’d be pretty annoyed. Or if the Chinese had military bases on our land or said that they came here to protect their oil, the American people would be pretty outraged. The Republicans and Democrats would be joined together. They would be really very annoyed.
The transcript of Ron Paul on the Tonight Show, below the fold. (It’s long.)
JAY LENO: All right. My first guest, running for President of the United States among the Republicans, he’s considered a long-shot maverick, but he’s the number one GOP fundraiser right now, and he’s moved up to number three in many of the latest polls. And don’t forget, Huckabee was unknown. Remember he came here the night before Iowa? Won the next day. The power of this show, ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome Ron Paul.
Hey, thanks for coming on such short notice.
RON PAUL: Thank you. Nice to be here.
JAY LENO: Now, I got to ask you. This seemed really
unfair to me. You were excluded from the debate last
night, and I’m trying to figure out why FOX News chose
not to put you on. What do you –
RON PAUL: You know, we tried to find that out. That
was a natural tendency of ours, to try to figure this
out. But they didn’t return our call.
JAY LENO: I mean, did you show up and they go, “No,
RON PAUL: No, it didn’t go that far. You know, I
realized that they really had some property rights
ability there, and I wasn’t going to crash the party.
But I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. And I
thought, “Well, maybe I ought to sue them.” And then
I thought, “What am I going to sue them on?” I’ve
decided what to sue them over, and that is for fraud,
because of this fair and balanced idea, you know.
— I just –
JAY LENO: Let me ask you. Here’s something
interesting. I found out about this sort of on my
own. We went, “Hey, where’s Ron Paul?” And then we
made some phone calls. You weren’t — I saw you
interviewed with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. It wasn’t
mentioned. I don’t think — I don’t want to be
unfair. I didn’t see it on MSNBC or any of the other
cable channels. It seems like a big story: One of
the major candidates or certainly major in terms of –
you have as much prestige as anybody else in
fundraising — is left out. Why was this not a story?
RON PAUL: You know, I don’t know. I can speculate.
If I qualified, as you point out, that I had the
qualification, it must be they didn’t want to hear the
message. Maybe they’re intimidated. Maybe they’re
frightened. Maybe they don’t want to hear the truth.
Who knows? We’ll have to figure that out.
JAY LENO: Okay. I mean, what do you do? Do you call
FOX News at this point and go, “I want to know why I
RON PAUL: Yeah.
JAY LENO: You seem like a gentleman. You don’t seem
like that type. But it seems like you should be
kicking somebody’s ass right now.
I mean, you’re being extremely polite for something I
think you got screwed over, quite — you know, I mean, I
might not necessarily agree with you, but I think, as an
American, we like to see everybody get an equal shot,
especially someone who deserves an equal shot. And it
seems like –
RON PAUL: You know –
— the American people believe that way too. And I think
you’ve tapped into the sentiment of what America thinks.
But you know, even the Republican party in New Hampshire
came to bat. They withdrew support for the parties –
for that debate, so we give them credit. But I think
there are others in the Republican party that might just
not as well hear my comments because, you know, I’m a
strict Constitutionalist, and I believe that our platform
should have meaning, that if I vote that way or support
that position, it contradicts what we’re doing, you know,
is sort of like waving a flag, and they don’t like that.
I think that’s part of it. And FOX, I think, is tied
pretty close to some of the national policy issues. And
I think –
JAY LENO: But you’re a Republican.
RON PAUL: Yeah, but they don’t — they’re not.
That’s the problem.
JAY LENO: Okay.
RON PAUL: See, if I follow the platform and they
don’t and then I get on the stage with all the others
who are following — you know, doing that and then I’m
saying, “Hey, I actually believe in the Constitution.
I believe what we’re supposed to be doing, and I
believe my promises,” and they’re not doing it, then
that’s pointing this out to them. And I think there’s
a little bit of embarrassment there.
And I think the war has a lot to do with the issue
too, because I strongly opposed the war before we went
in there, and I think there are some who think it’s
very important that we be over there. There’s some
who actually think we should be there for a hundred
years. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.
JAY LENO: Okay. Now, everybody seems to be going
after Romney. Nobody seems to like Romney these days
what’s the problem with him?
RON PAUL: I guess they figured he was the
frontrunner, but he’s coming down now. But you know,
one thing I’m a little bit afraid of is that they
might be doing that for religious reasons, and I don’t
like that. I disagree with Romney on some of the
issues, and he’s gone after me on the stage, but that
shouldn’t be the reason that he doesn’t do well.
JAY LENO: Do you think that’s the reason?
RON PAUL: I think subtly there is a little bit of
that. And I don’t think that’s right. But yeah, they
were after him. But I think he’s invited some of it
too, some of the flip-flopping. You know, he did
something when he was in Massachusetts, and now the
positions — and now –
JAY LENO: Yeah. See, I grew up in Massachusetts.
Seems to be a totally different guy than what –
Massachusetts, he and Ted Kennedy were fighting for
the most liberal guy, it seemed.
RON PAUL: Yeah. And then when he was running for the
Senate, he said some things that he doesn’t say
JAY LENO: Right.
RON PAUL: And the politicians, some of them — I
guess you’ve noticed over the years, sometimes they’ll
say one thing to one crowd and something to another
crowd. I think that’s something that nobody’s ever
accused me of doing. I say the same thing, no matter
which ear it is and which crowd it is.
JAY LENO: And you’re tied with Giuliani in
New Hampshire. Is that about right? You’re –
RON PAUL: That’s right, essentially tied.
JAY LENO: You’re in the same place.
RON PAUL: Of course, you know, he had 4 percent in
Iowa, and I had 10. And that didn’t give me
JAY LENO: I find this fascinating. I mean, I know
Mitt Romney spends his own money. He’s got quite a
RON PAUL: Yeah. He has more than I do.
JAY LENO: But you have raised more money from
outside, you know –
RON PAUL: Yeah, I think we raised the most of anybody
in the fourth quarter. Of course, they haven’t
released all their numbers yet, which means they’re
not competing. But we raised almost $20 million. And
I say “we.” It really is “we” because, you know, the
grass roots do it, these meet-up groups who we have,
like 1400 meet-up groups around the country.
And they have fun doing this. They have a day, and they
say, “Let’s all send Ron Paul some money on this day.”
And they go and do it, and they break all kinds of
records. Pretty amazing
JAY LENO: Let’s take a break. When we come back, I
want to ask you two things. I want you to think about
this. Don’t tell me now. When we come back, I want
to find out — let’s say you get the nomination.
Which of that field would you pick as your running
mate? Don’t tell me now.
RON PAUL: OK. I’ll have to think hard about that
JAY LENO: What do you think of the Democratic
More with Ron Paul after this.
Welcome back. We’re here with Presidential candidate Ron
OK, let’s say you win the nomination. Now, most people
that win usually pick from the other candidates in the
field. Which of the other Republicans do you choose as
your running mate?
RON PAUL: Well, the one that agrees with me on all
But they don’t seem to be very agreeable right now, so I
would have to talk to them and see if they’ve changed
their mind, and then I would have to interpret whether
they’re very sincere about it.
JAY LENO: But anybody you like? Anybody that’s kind
of close but not quite?
RON PAUL: Well, not yet. We’re still working on
that. You know, when we had a little confrontation
early on in the debates with Mayor Giuliani when he
was confused about what causes terrorism –
— I sent him some books. And I said, “Please read these
books.” But so far it doesn’t sound like he’s read his
books. He hasn’t done his homework.
JAY LENO: Let me ask you something about this
terrorist thing, and clear this up, because you hear
things secondhand. You said that we were to blame?
RON PAUL: No, no, not really.
JAY LENO: Okay.
RON PAUL: Our policies have a lot to do with it. The
people who are to blame are the thugs.
JAY LENO: You’re not talking about 9/11?
RON PAUL: Yeah, I’m talking about 9/11. The thugs
that killed our people, that came over here, they’re a
hundred percent to blame. But that’s sort of like
saying if somebody gets murdered, the murderer is a
hundred percent responsible. But people always look
for motives. If you’re looking for the murderer, you
have to know motives. So we have to look for the
motives of these people who go insane to try to kill
us. And the motives are related to the fact that we
occupy their countries. Even before 9/11, we were
plenty — a lot involved in the Middle East. That is
very significant. I do not believe for a minute that
they come here only because we’re free and prosperous.
That isn’t the case. There may be a few, but you
can’t motivate a people to do that. So you and I, the
American people, they’re not responsible. But some of
our bad policies in the Middle East now for 50, 60
years — we used our CIA to install the shah in Iran.
If somebody did that to us, we’d be pretty annoyed.
Or if the Chinese had military bases on our land or
said that they came here to protect their oil, the
American people would be pretty outraged. The
Republicans and Democrats would be joined together.
They would be really very annoyed.
JAY LENO: We have their toys at least. We have the
RON PAUL: That’s it. That’s better than –
JAY LENO: You don’t support the surge?
RON PAUL: No, I didn’t vote for the surge. Hopefully
the surge had something to do with it; there’s less
violence. But I’m afraid what happened is that we
lost the south. The south now is all controlled by
the Shiites, and they’re aligned with the Iranians.
And the British left. So we more or less lost the
south, and there’s more peace there and less killing.
But there’s more killing over there. It’s still very,
very disruptive. I’m scared to death that we’re going
to be in Pakistan before it’s over. And we still
haven’t taken off the table any option to go into
Iran. We don’t need that. The American people don’t
need a bigger war. Besides, we’re broke. We don’t
have any money to afford this anyway.
JAY LENO: Do you find it weird that people are more
concerned about the economy now than they are about
the war? The economy seems to beat out the war.
RON PAUL: Absolutely. The economy has become a big
issue just in this last year since I’ve been running,
but it should have been expected. But it is connected
to the war. The other night when they asked the
question, “Well, if we can afford a trillion dollars
fighting this war in Iraq, we can afford a trillion
dollars for medical care for the people,” yes, that’s
where our money is. The trillion dollars went to the
war. It should be here taking care of our people here
JAY LENO: And you say also we need to stop printing
dollars. What was that all about?
RON PAUL: Well, it’s very clear — you know, they
make fun of the fact that I refer to the Constitution,
that only gold and silver should be legal tender. And
the founders understood what runaway inflation was all
JAY LENO: Well, it used to be; right?
RON PAUL: Yeah, sure, up until 1971. But the
founders had runaway inflation with the continental
dollar, and they say, “No more bills of credit,” which
is paper money. And people make fun of what I say
about “Have something solidly behind the currency so
governments can’t print it.” But I think the silly
notion is that when government, the politicians –
trust them? When they need a little bit of money, let
me print it? They tend to do that. Then they wonder
why does the value of the dollar go down? They don’t
talk about printing money. They talk about, “We have
to do something about the value of the dollar. The
Canadian dollar now is worth more than the American
dollar.” It’s related to the fact that we allow the
politicians to print money when they want to. So we
have to deal with monetary policy. We can’t escape
it. It’s coming.
JAY LENO: Do you think Americans really want change?
Because everybody says, “Oh” — every candidate’s got
change. I’ve heard the word “change” more than
anything else, yet we still seem to keep doing the
same things. We don’t really want that much change,
RON PAUL: You know, I think it’s a mixed bag. I
think the American people want change.
And the politicians know that, so everybody gets up and
says, “I’m for change. I’m for change.” But the whole
thing is, is what kind of change? You know, right now
whether you like Republicans or Democrats, does foreign
policy change? No. Does monetary policy change, and are
they going to even talk about it? Does fiscal policy
change? No. We elect the conservative Republicans, and
they make the deficit worse than the rest. Yeah, the
American people are tired of that. They want real
change. And to me, that means the only significant
change we ought to have is get enough people in
Washington that read the Constitution, obey the
Constitution, do only the things that we’re allowed to
JAY LENO: Let’s say you’re not running for President.
You’re sitting home in Texas. You’re not in either
party. Which of the Democrats do you like? Which is
closest to –
RON PAUL: Closest to it. Well, that doesn’t mean I
have to vote for them.
JAY LENO: I’m just saying which — if you had to pick
someone from the Democratic field, who do you like?
RON PAUL: Well, a good friend of mine that I talk to
all the time on foreign policy is Dennis, Dennis
Kucinich, because he understands civil liberties. He
understands a lot about foreign policy. And sometimes
when there’s only two of us that will vote in the
House against expanding our war in the Middle East, he
and I will be voting together. So I have a lot of
respect for him, but we would disagree on economic
policy. But it’s good that you have allies on both
sides of the aisle.
JAY LENO: Now, I know you’ve got to go back to
New Hampshire tonight; right?
RON PAUL: That is correct.
JAY LENO: Well, thanks for coming. I just wanted to
clear up that thing. I thought it was blatantly
unfair, and thanks for coming by and giving us a
RON PAUL: Thank you.
JAY LENO: Ron Paul. We’ll be right back.