Ron Paul's performance in Saturday night's New Hampshire debate on ABC was solid; he got out his message on small government, foreign policy and civil liberties.
He also spoke emotionally about the suffering of American soldiers and proudly stated that he served the U.S. military when he was called to do so, even though he was married with two children.
According to multiple online polls (which are self-selected samples and therefore unscientific), Paul won the debate. IBTimes’ poll, which recorded nearly 3,000 votes as of Sunday morning, had 65 percent of votes declaring Paul the winner and 18 percent of votes declaring Romney as the winner.
Below is the full text of what Paul said during the debate. To get the full text of the entire debate, click here.
On the accusation that Rick Santorum is corrupt and a Washington insider
Well, it was a quote -- somebody did make a survey and I think he came out as one of the top corrupt individuals because he took so much money from the lobbyists. But really what the whole -- there it goes again.
But really -- what really counts is his record. I mean, he’s a big government, big spending individual. Because, you know, he preached to the fact he wanted a balanced budget amendment but voted to raise the debt to five times. So he is a big government person.
And we as Republicans know something about right to work. He supported -- he voted against right to work. He voted along with No Child Left Behind, to double, you know, the size of the Department of Education. And he also voted to -- for the prescription drug program. So he’s a big government person, along with him being very -- associated with the lobbyists and taking a lot of funds.
And also where did he get -- make his living afterwards? I mean, he became a high-powered lobbyist on -- in Washington, D.C. And he has done quite well.
We checked out Newt, on his income. I think we ought to find out how much money he has made from the lobbyists as well.
On his differences with Santorum
Well, you know, it is true [on earmarks] -- I believe Congress should designate how the money should be spent. I agree with that. But the big difference between the way I voted and the senator voted is I always voted against the spending. I voted against all the spending. It’s only been a couple appropriations bills I voted for in the past, what, 24, 26 years I’ve been in Washington.
So you’re a big spender; that’s all there is to it. You’re a big-government conservative. And you don’t vote for, you know, right to work and these very important things. And that’s what weakens the economy. So to say you’re a conservative, I think, is a stretch. But you’ve convinced a lot of people of it, so somebody has to point out your record.
On him being a constitutionalist and Santorum’s record on government spending
Well, I call it being a constitutionalist, because I believe we should earmark, or designate, every penny. You designate weapons systems. You designate money to go to spend $1 billion on an embassy in Iraq. That’s -- that’s an earmark, too. I say the Congress has more responsibility.
But this thing, back -- back to Senator Santorum, you know, he ducks behind this -- he’s for this balanced budget amendment, but voted five times to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars. This is what the whole Tea Party movement’s about.
When -- I mean, government’s practically stopped over increasing the national debt. You did it five times. So what’s your excuse for that? That’s trillions of dollars. You kept this thing going. You didn’t do very much to slow it up when you had a chance.
On Gingrich’s draft deferments and his empathy for veterans
Yeah. I -- I think people who don’t serve when they could and they get three or four or even five deferments aren’t -- they -- they have no right to send our kids off to war, and -- and not be even against the wars that we have. I’m trying to stop the wars, but at least, you know, I went when they called me up.
But, you know, the -- the veterans’ problem is a big one. We have hundreds of thousands coming back from these wars that were undeclared, they were unnecessary, they haven’t been won, they’re unwinnable, and we have hundreds of thousands looking for care. And we have an epidemic of suicide coming back. And so many have -- I mean, if you add up all the contractors and all the wars going on, Afghanistan and in Iraq, we’ve lost 8,500 Americans, and severe injuries, over 40,000. And these are undeclared wars.
So, Rick keeps say we -- you don’t want this libertarian stuff, but what I’m talking about, I don’t bring up the word. You do. But I talk about the Constitution. Constitution has rules. And I don’t like it when we send our kids off to fight these wars, and when those individuals didn’t go themselves, and then come up and when they’re asked, they say, oh, I don’t think I could -- one person could have made a difference.
I have a pet peeve that annoys me to a great deal, because when I see these young men coming back, my heart weeps for them.
On Gingrich’s comments on his military service
I need one quick follow-up. When I was drafted, I was married and had two kids, and I went.
On the racist newsletters that appeared under his name and his stance on race issues
Well, it’s been explained many times, and everything’s written 20 years ago, approximately, that I did not write. So concentrating on something that was written 20 years ago that I didn’t write, you know, is diverting the attention from most of the important issues.
But the inference is obvious that -- and you even bring up the word racial overtones. More importantly, you ought to ask me what my relationship is for racial relationships. And one of my heroes is Martin Luther King because he practiced the libertarian principle of peaceful resistance and peaceful civil disobedience, as did Rosa Parks.
But, also, I’m the only one up here and the only one in the Democratic Party that understands true racism in this country is in the judicial system. And it has to do with enforcing the drug laws.
Look at the percentages. The percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites. And yet the blacks are arrested way disproportionately. They’re -- they’re prosecuted and imprisoned way disproportionately. They get -- they get the death penalty way disproportionately.
How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get, you know, execution?
But poor minorities have an injustice. And they have an injustice in war, as well, because minorities suffer more. Even with a draft -- with a draft, they suffered definitely more. And without a draft, they’re suffering disproportionately.
If we truly want to be concerned about racism, you ought to look at a few of those issues and look at the drug laws, which are being so unfairly enforced.
On the state’s right to ban contraception and the Fourth Amendment
I didn’t know whether I got time when it was favorable or not. But thank you. No, I think the Fourth Amendment is very clear. It is explicit in our privacy. You can’t go into anybody’s house and look at what they have or their papers or any private things without a search warrant.
This is why the Patriot Act is wrong, because you have a right of privacy by the Fourth Amendment. As far as selling contraceptives, the Interstate Commerce Clause protects this because the Interstate Commerce Clause was originally written not to impede trade between the states, but it was written to facilitate trade between the states. So if it’s not illegal to import birth control pills from one state to the next, it would be legal to sell birth control pills in that state.
On the possibly of him running as a third-party candidate
Well I essentially have. It’s just that I don’t like absolutes like, I will never do something. But no...
So, I have said it in the last go-around, I said -- they asked me that about 30 times. I think maybe you’ve asked me four or five already. And the answer is always the same. You know, no, I have no plans to do it. I don’t intend to do it. And somebody pushed me a little bit harder and said why don’t you plan to do it? I just -- I don’t want to. So I have no intention. But I don’t know why a person can’t reserve a judgment and see how things turn out? You know, in many ways I see the other candidates as very honorable people, but I sometimes disagree with their approach to government.
And I’d like to see some changes. I -- I want to see changes. When they’re talking about a -- a little bit of a difference in foreign policy and -- and interest in the Federal Reserve, a change in the monetary policy. We haven’t heard one talk -- minute of talk about cutting any spending. we’ve talked previously about cutting the military spending. That’s cutting proposed increases. This is why I have proposed that we cut a whole trillion dollars that first year.
If we’re serious as Republicans and conservatives, we have to cut. So I want to put as much pressure on them as I can. But besides, I’m doing pretty well, you know? Third wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t too far behind. And doing pretty well. Catching up on Mitt every single day.
On his foreign policy stance
Well, I think -- I think that’s a misquote. I don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon. I voted to go after bin Laden, so that, you know, takes care of that.
But, you know, this business about when to go in, I don’t think it’s that complicated. I think we’ve made it much more complicated than it should be. Yes, the president is the commander-in-chief, but he’s not the king. And that’s why we fought a revolution, not to have a king and decide when we go to war.
We would have saved ourselves a lot of grief if we only had gone to war in a proper manner, and the proper manner is the people elect congressmen and senators to make a declaration of war, and then we become the commander-in-chief, and we make these decisions.
But we went into Afghanistan. We went into Iraq. And now we’re in Pakistan. We’re involved in so many countries. Now they want to move on to Syria. And they can’t -- there’s some in Washington now can’t wait until they start bombing Iran. We have to change this whole nature. You know, something happened this week I thought was so encouraging. And it reminds me of how we finally talked to the Chinese. I mean, they had killed 100 million of their own people, but we finally broke the ice by playing ping-pong.
But today, the -- the American Navy picked up a bunch of fishermen, Iranian fishermen, that had been held by -- by the pirates, and released them. And they were so welcome, it was just a wonderful thing to happen. This is the kind of stuff we should deal with, not putting on sanctions. Sanctions themselves are -- always leads up to war. And that’s what we’re doing.
Eastern Europe is going to be destabilized if they don’t have this oil. And this just pushes Iran right into the hands of the Chinese. So our policy may be well intended, but it has a lot of downside, a lot of unintended consequences, and, unfortunately, blowback.
On his vision for America and his thoughts on economics
Well, it’s to restore America to our freedoms, restore America to our principles, and that is individual liberty and our Constitution and sound money. But in doing that, you have to understand economics. You can’t solve any of this economic crisis unless you know where the business cycle comes from and why you have bubbles and why -- why -- why they break. You have to understand that we’ve had a financial bubble that’s been going on for 40 years. It’s collapsing. Nobody quite recognizes it, but we’re in the midst of a real big correction.
And the only way you can get back to growth is you have to liquidate the debt. But instead of liquidating debt, what we’ve done is the people who built up the debt on Wall Street and the banks, we’ve had the American taxpayer bail them out. We -- we bought it through the Federal Reserve and through the Treasury, dumped it on the American people. The middle class is now shrinking. And we don’t have jobs. But if you’re an individual or a businessman, if you’re consuming everything you’re earning just to finance your debt, you can’t have growth. So we have to liquidate debt. This is the reason I call for cutting spending, the only one that’s calling for real cuts. You have to have real cuts. That’s what the Republican Party used to stand for, but you can’t liquidate debt. You can’t -- you can’t keep bailing out the debt. That’s what Japan has done for 20 years. And they’re still in their doldrums. We did it in the depression. We’re into this now for five years, and it has to end. It’s only going to end until after we understand the business cycle.
On what he would do on a Saturday night if he were not at the debate
I’d be home with my family. But if they all went to bed, I’d probably read an economic textbook.