October Clinton, Paul, Brooks, Ford, Welch, Mitchell - Meet the Press - Transcripts | NBC News
Transcript of the Dec. 23, broadcast of NBC's 'Meet the Press,' featuring Ron Paul, John Harwood and Chuck Todd. Feldscher Paul Trump racist-pic Sen. Rand Paul said on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday that Trump donated money to a medical. TIM RUSSERT But first we're joined by Dr. Ron Paul, Republican candidate for president. Dr. Paul, welcome to MEET THE PRESS. REP. RON PAUL.
Let's get right to your plan. This week you unveiled a plan to cut the deficit and to deal with the economy. The key elements of it is that you want to cut a trillion dollars of spending in the first year. To do that you would eliminate five Cabinet departments: On Monday in Las Vegas, you unveiled the plan, and, and this is what you said about it. I have a personal conviction that this will not hurt anybody.
You cut government spending, that goes back to you. How is that possible that a Draconian cut like this would not hurt anybody, particularly in this economy? Because we have to take this money from the economy and the pure politicians get to spend it. So that's a negative, it hurts the economy. After World War II, we cut spending by 60 percent and cut taxes. Ten million people came home, and all the money and the expenditures went back to the people.
And that was finally--we got over the Depression by having these Draconian cuts. But you have the education system in the state that it's in with big federal contributions now, and nuclear energy safeguards after what happened to Japan, environmental protections.
Nobody gets hurt under, under President Paul's plan? Well, well, you know, we cut back on those and the Department of Energy I cut. But some of those things are just transferred to, to the DOD Department, you know, nuclear controls and things like that. So they aren't eliminated. But they are significant. I'm the only one that's offering it.
I mean, if spending is a problem, which all the candidates claim, spending too much and the debts to be, but who's proposing it? See, to, to me, the question I ask myself is, what should the role of government be?
And I've come down on the conclusion that it shouldn't be that we're the policemen of the world and we have this runaway entitlement spending. So, therefore, if the role of government is the constitutional approach, you can't keep spending like this, because now we face this worldwide crisis of sovereign debt.
That's our big problem. But you can't deal with that unless you cut spending. The Fed chief has said to, to focus so exclusively on debt reduction, as you would do Well, I just used the perfect example. By Draconian cuts after World War II, it stimulated the economy because the resources aren't diminished. The resources are put back into the economy, and the people spend the money. But now all we do is give them debt.
We tax, we borrow, then we inflate, and, and then we distort the economy. So we destroy the production, because the government takes over the economy. And that's the negative. As you well know, you have a lot of support among young people. They're borrowing to pay for college at record levels. Would you abolish all federal student aid? But my program doesn't do it. There's a transition in this. But that's your ultimate aim. Yes, because there's no authority to do this.
And just think of all this willingness to want to help every student get a college education. So they're a trillion dollars in debt. We don't have any jobs for them. The quality of education has gone down. So it's a failed program. I went to school when we had none of those. I could work my way through college and medical school because it wasn't so expensive.
So, when you run up debt, you print money, cost goes up in the areas that the government gets involved in--education and medical care and housing. So it's artificial and distorts the economy. So we have to look at the business cycle and the inflation, so it doesn't help people.
All this housing programs? They end up losing their jobs and losing their houses. I mean, what we're witnessing today is the failure of a Keynesian economic model, and today we have to replace it with something. We either replace it with more government and more authoritarianism, more controls, or we look toward the free market.
You would like to get the federal government out of housing completely. And right now the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee 90 percent of the mortgages in this country. So you'd get rid of the government's role? The government's always had a role in housing.
No, they haven't always had a role in housing. They created the monster. I mean, first, the Fed creates the money, and then you have Congress get involved and say, "You do this, this and this. They get involved in the derivatives business, and who gets bailed out? They got bailed out.
So, no, it's a distortion of the markets. But play that through, Dr. Paul, because it's really quite jarring. There is no private market right now for mortgages. Oh, no, that's not true. Are you going to wind down these companies? Who would buy them? Why not put them up for What happens to housing prices, to the housing market?
Put--well, it would be, the system would be cleansed. It would have been over and done with by now. But all we can You say cleansed, so the market would crash again, and you think that's acceptable. It, it should have--it should have had a sharp correction because it was artificially manipulated. You--once you get this distortion, you have to correct the mistake.
So you do what we did in You allow the correction to occur in one year. You go back to work. If you keep transferring the debt from the private owners, or the pseudo-private owners, the Fannie Maes and the Freddie Macs that participated in the, in the bankruptcy, you bail them out and you bail out the banks and you bail out the Wall Streeters, you dump all this debt on the people.
Let me ask you a couple things about foreign policy. Iraq, you don't actually believe the troops will ultimately come out of Iraq, do you? Oh, no, no, I don't. We'll change their names. I mean, we're going to have--they've already admitted there'll be 15, But, you know, they, they've morphed the private sector with the military. The CIA and contractors, it's a mixture. But there's going to be 15, in the, in the armed camp, you know, the fortress, the embassy, the biggest embassy in the world.
Al-Sadr, who is the champion of national sovereignty for Iraq, he says that is still occupation. And occupation is the key word for why we should look out. There's a civil war going on in northern Iraq. The Turks have already put troops into Iraq. Turks are now allying with the, with the Iranians because there's civil strife up there. That is a consequence. The, the Christians have been run out of Iraq.
And, ironically, there were no al-Qaeda in Iraq.
So there's nothing but chaos. We are going to have a military presence there, undoubtedly. Under President Paul, Osama bin Laden would likely still be alive? So would Moammar Khaddafy. I, I think that's a wrong assumption. You would have ordered the kill on bin Laden?
I, I, I voted for it. I voted for the authority. But I thought, shortly thereafter, they didn't go after him. We had him trapped at Tora Bora, and we should have had him there. We shouldn't have gone into nation building. We dropped the ball. We went in and started a war in Iraq when But you, you support, you supported the effort, then, to get him?
I voted for it. But it should have been done, you know, in three months or two months. But also, when it started lingering, I argued against occupation, against the war, and I introduced this--reintroduced the notion of a letter of mark and reprisal and targeting one individual, rather than saying, "We're going to declare war against the world. You actually, in October at the Press Club, described our foreign policy this way. I'll show it to you. Videotape, October 5, REP.
We have crossed that, that, that, that barrier from Republic to, to dictatorship, to tyranny, to empire. Advertise End videotape MR.
Dec. Ron Paul - Meet the Press | NBC News
If you look at what happened in Libya, do you believe that the United States has a moral responsibility to deal with humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world?
We don't have authority in the Constitution to get involved in the internal affairs or get involved in entangling alliances. The Constitution doesn't give the authority. They get us into more trouble.
They undermine our national defense, and they caused a lot of trouble. If you want to do it voluntarily and get involved, you can volunteer and go over there and send your money.
But I don't, as a president, have the authority to go. If our, if our national security is threatened, then you do it properly. This president now has gone in there on his own. He has flaunted the responsibility to go to the Congress. He doesn't get permission. And, and we went over--it, it wouldn't have happened without our money and our drones and our missiles and all. And it happened, so we're responsible for the chaos and the Do you think the drone war that this administration is waging is illegal?
It's illegal under international law. And there's no authority in our Constitution that we can just willy-nilly drop bombs on anybody that we want. We kill innocent people this way. Why do you think people hate us? Because there's so much collateral damage. You see, "Oh, this is a bad guy. We'll drop a bomb on him and kill him.
We might miss him. We might hit another car, and then you kill 10 other people. What would we do if they did that to us, David? We, we would be a little upset if China did that to us, wouldn't we? You said in that the, the prospect of Iran attacking Israel was like the prospect that it would invade Mars.
I didn't use those words, but essentially that might be the No, you actually did. I looked at the transcript, yeah. And the reality is that the biggest existential threat that Israel faces is from Iran. I--they wouldn't, they wouldn't need to. Israel has nuclear weapons and missiles. The odds are so remote.
Iran can't even make enough gasoline for themselves. They have to import gasoline. So they don't have intercontinental ballistic missiles. They, they don't have a nuclear weapon. There's a big discussion going on on how far along they are. And I was in the service, and lived through the '60s. The Soviets had 30, of them, and they were going to bury us, and we survived that. So for us to plan to go to war against Iran under these conditions scares a lot of Americans.
It certainly scares the young people of the world, the people I talk to, because they're going to bear this burden financially, and also they may be required to fight these wars Let me, let me ask you about the role of government. You've said about taxation, in a way that doesn't minces words, the following: Would you scrap the tax code altogether? That would be a pretty good idea, a pretty good start.
I, I can qualify it if I'm allowed. Taxation is theft when you take money from one group to give it to, to another, when you, when you transfer the wealth. Now, taxation could be accomplished with user fees and, you know, highway fees and gasoline taxes and import taxes. But the income tax is based on the assumption that the government owns you, owns all of your income and provides the conditions on which they allow you to keep a certain percentage.
That, to me, is immoral, and the founders didn't like it. That's why the Constitution had to be amended in Social Security, you talk in your plan about allowing young people to opt out. I, I think it--there is a much better chance that it would be solvent. It's totally insolvent now. But my plan explicitly protects the elderly and the sick in the transition to be taken care of. The young get out, but the only way we can guarantee that the elderly will be taken care of is cutting spending.
That's why offer a trillion dollars. So the elderly now are reassured. He's not going to waste all this money overseas and all this foreign aid and expenses. But you--so you cut benefits? Eventually, would you have to do that? Not, not if you If young people are opting out and not paying in.
I would balance--I would balance the budget. There would be no inflation, no reason for increase in cost of living increase.
And, in time, I think you could raise this age. Mine was 25 and under, but it should--the only complaint I've gotten so far is somebody came up to me and says, "I'm Why don't you let me get out? Let me, let me They--when they wanted to outlaw alcohol, they had enough respect for the Constitution to amend the Constitution. Today we have all these laws and abuse, and they don't even care about the Constitution.
I'm defending the Constitution on this issue. I think drugs are horrible. I teach my kids not to use them, my grandchildren, in my medical practice. Prescription drugs are a greater danger than, than hard drugs. But you would decriminalize it? I, I, I would, at the federal level. I don't have control over the states.
And that's what the Constitution's there. Let me ask you about race, because I, I read a speech you gave inthe 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. And you said this: Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of" '64 "increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty. Well, we should do, we should do this at a federal level, at a federal lunch counter it'd be OK or for the military.
Just think of how the government, you know, caused all the segregation in the military until after World War II. But when it comes, Tim, you're, you're, you're not compelled in your house to invade strangers that you don't like.
So it's a property rights issue. And this idea that all private property is under the domain of the federal government I think is wrong. So this--I think even Barry Goldwater opposed that bill on the same property rights position, and that--and now this thing is totally out of control. If you happen to like to smoke a cigar, you know, the federal government's going to come down and say you're not allowed to do this.
But you would vote against You would vote against the Civil Rights Act if, if it was today? If it were written the same way, where the federal government's taken over property--has nothing to do with race relations. It just happens, Tim, that I get more support from black people today than any other Republican candidate, according to some statistics. And I have a great appeal to people who care about personal liberties and to those individuals who would like to get us out of wars.
So it has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights. I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn't have gone, gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was the--that iron, iron fist. We'd still have slavery. Oh, come on, Tim.
Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I'm advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You, you buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killingAmericans and where it lingered for years? I mean, the hatred and all that existed.
So every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach. You're running as a Republican. In your--on your Web site, in your brochures, you make this claim: Ron was also one of only four Republican Congressmen to endorse Ronald Reagan for president against Gerald Ford in" ' There's a photograph of you, Ronald Reagan on the right, heralding your support of Ronald Reagan.
And yet you divorced yourself from Ronald Reagan.
Ron Paul Meets the Press
Well, I'll bet you any money I didn't use the word traitor. I'll bet you that's somebody else, so I think that's misleading. But a failure, yes, in, in many ways. The government didn't shrink. Ultimately, after he got in office, he said, "All I want to do is reduce the rate of increase in size of government. My goal is to reduce our government to a constitutional size.
I think that--matter of fact, he admitted in his memoirs that he had a total failure in Lebanon, and he said he relearned the Middle East because of that failure. And so there--he--you know, he But if he's a total failure, why are you using, using his picture in your brochure?
Well, because he, he ran on a good program, and his, his idea was a limited government. Get rid of the Department of Education, a strong national defense. I wasn't convinced he was a conservative. Because I represent what Republicanism used to be. I represent the group that wanted to get rid of the Department of Education, the part, that part of the Republican Party that used to be non-interventionists overseas.
There was a time when the Republicans defended individual liberty and the Constitution and decreased spending. So the radicals, the ones who really don't belong in the Republican Party and why the Republican Party is shrinking, why the base is so small, is because they don't stand for these ideals any more. So I stand for the ideals of the Republican Party. I've been elected 10 times as Republican. I've been a Republican all my life except for that one year that I ran as a Libertarian.
But, no, I represent the Republican ideals, I think, much more so that the individuals running for the party right now. If, if you do not win the Republican nomination for president, will you run as an independent in ? I have no intention to do that. I have no intention of doing that. Well, but no intention's a wiggle word. Well, OK, I deserve one wiggle now and then, Tim. I mean, what the devil So no--so no Shermanesque statement.
Well, I can be pretty darned sure that I have no intention, no plans of doing it, and that's about I don't like people who are such absolutists, "I will never do this, or I will win, I'm going to come in first.
But the door's open a little bit. We haven't even had a race, we have February 5th coming up. We have a campaign to run. Why--do you ask all the other--how many other candidates have you asked, "Are you going to run as a third party candidate if you don't win? Well, if someone has a history of running as a third party candidate, sure.
You ran in '88 as a Libertarian. Yeah, well, I know It's a logical question. So I--ask them, too. Before you go, Mike Huckabee, Republican candidate for president, ran this commercial for Christmas and many thought that the shelf in the back looked like a cross. You were asked about it on CNN and this is what you said. It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once says.
He said when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross. What does that mean? Fascism or the definition of fascism? Do you believe that Mike Huckabee is Oh, I didn't say that. I said it reminded me--as a matter of fact they caught me completely cold on that. I had not seen the ad, and they just said there was a cross there. And, you know, it was an instantaneous reflex because I knew of Sinclair Lewis about being cautious, because, you know, I--what prompts this is things like the Patriot Act.
Let me go back If you're not a patriot But let me go back to this ad. You do not believe that Mike Huckabee, that ad commercial represents the potential of fascism in the form of a cross. But I think this country, a movement in the last years, is moving toward fascism. Fascism today, the softer term, because people have different definition of fascism, is corporatism when the military industrial complex runs the show, when the--in the name of security pay--pass the Patriot Act.
You don't vote for it, you know, you're not patriotic America. If you don't support the troops and you don't support--if you don't support the war you don't support the troops. It's that kind of antagonism. But we have more corporatism and more abuse of our civil liberties, more loss of our privacy, national ID cards, all this stuff coming has a fascist tone to it. And the country's moving in that direction. That's what I'm thinking about. This was not personalized.
I never even used my opponents names if you, if you notice. So you think we're close to fascism? I think we're approaching it very close. One--there's one, there's one documentary that's been put out recently that has generated a lot of interest called "Freedom to Fascism.
Were not moving toward Hitler-type fascism, but we're moving toward a softer fascism. Loss of civil liberties, corporations running the show, big government in bed with big business. So you have the military industrial complex, you have the medical industrial complex, you have the financial industry, you have the communications industry.
They go to Washington and spend hundreds of millions of dollars. That's where the control is.
‘Meet the Press’ transcript for Dec. 23, 2007
I call that a soft form of fascism, something that is very dangerous. For the record, the Sinclair Lewis Society said that Mr. Lewis never uttered that quote. But others refuted that and put them down and said that--and they found the exact quote where it came from.
Ron Paul, be safe on the campaign trail. Thanks for sharing your views. Nice to be here. As part of our Meet the Candidates series, we've invited candidates for president to appear here for in-depth interviews. In addition, Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, he'll be right here to talk about his campaign.
We're also archiving the transcripts and videos of the entire series on our Web site, mtp. Coming next, the very latest polls, strategies and commercials. We have just 11 days to go to the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd, 16 days to New Hampshire primary on January 8th. The very latest from Iowa and New Hampshire.
Our political roundtable--John Harwood, Chuck Todd--after this station break. Let's go right to the polling numbers. The national numbers, look at that.
Rudy Giuliani is now at 20, down 13 points in a month. Giuliani, what caused the decline? But let's go to the states, because this is what really counts. Huckabee is ahead in both polls, 33 to 25 over Romney, 35 to 27 in other, the rest of the lineup there. Let's go to New Hampshire, some new numbers out today. Three points between McCain and Romney.
An earlier poll had it a 7 point race. Chuck Todd, what does it all tell you? Well, there's no Republican front-runner, and until we find out how badly Mitt Romney wins--loses Iowa, and I think that that's the assumption they're under at this point, that, that they're You called it already? They know that--they're worried they're going to lose Iowa, but they're trying to close the gap.
They're trying to close this gap so that they look like they at least have a running start to salvage New Hampshire. Because their bigger fear right now, the Romney people are absolutely petrified of John McCain. He is on the rise. He's done if he loses both of those. What they're hoping, as Chuck said, is that they either win--and I wouldn't, given how unpredictable this race is, I wouldn't rule out Romney and his organization pulling out a victory, but if he doesn't win, he needs to be strong in New Hampshire.
If he loses both of those back to back to Huckabee and McCain, he's got big problems. A--what Mitt Romney--there're several articles written about his talking about seeing his father marching with Martin Luther King in, in the '60s.Ron Paul on Meet the Press
Let's watch what he said earlier this month. Videotape, December 8, MR. I saw my father march with Martin Luther King. End videotape Videotape, last Sunday MR. But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our, at our lives.
My dad marched with Martin Luther King. And then on Thursday, he sought to clarify what he really intended to say. Advertise Videotape, Thursday MR. If you look at the literature or look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes 'being aware of' in the sense I've described. It's a figure of speech and very familiar, and it's very common. I did not see with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in the great effort.
Tim, I think, if you look at the way Mitt Romney's run his campaign, there's plenty to criticize. Those of us old enough to remember "Leave It to Beaver" sometimes see Eddie Haskell in Mitt Romney going to every constituency group and saying, "You look so lovely, Mrs.
I don't think it's a big deal. I actually think this has turned into a little bit of a big deal. The blogs are nuts on it, the conservative blogs, because it's not that this is the first time he's done something like this. The problem is, is that it feeds into this idea that he will say and--say anything it takes to win over a constituency group.
The Eddie Haskell thing, that's a--that, that cracked me up because you do have that feeling. He will say anything it takes to be liked, and that Martin Luther King thing.
And the fact is, it's been a real distraction. Before it, you know, midweek last week, he stopped the bleeding in Iowa, he's being, you know, looked like he was finally starting, you know, Huckabee was getting on the defensive, and then he had to spend 48 hours dealing with this story. Luckily for him, there's so many other things distracting all the political press, but this was one of those things, I don't know if it goes away.
Ask Al Gore what it's like when suddenly every word, it happens to get parsed. Mitt Romney is not been good when the pressure's been on and the spotlight's been on. And that's one of those moments. I agree it's become a political problem. My point is on the substance, when he says "What I meant was, I was aware of it," that doesn't seem to me to be an unreasonable explanation. I mean, that was the problem is that there are many issues with it. It may be that his father never even marched with him.
But he was a crusader. Absolutely, and nobody wants to take that away from his father. But I will say, Tim, you got to wonder how George Romney would feel about watching Mitt Romney in one of those debates a few days ago, criticizing Rudy Giuliani for saying that New York City was welcoming to illegal immigrants.
Mitt Romney, for the reason that Chuck mentioned, is sort of taken and run with that immigration issue. George Romney might not like it.