Ron Paul 2011
Will Ron Paul run as an independent? REUTERS/Scott Audette

Jon Stewart has criticized the media for ignoring or marginalizing Republican presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul despite the Texas congressman's strong polling, something Stewart is seeking to ameliorate by hosting Paul on Monday night's episode of The Daily Show.

During an August segment, Stewart noted that former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum garner more press attention than Paul despite registering worse in polls. By having Paul appear on the show, Stewart is acknowledging Paul as a legitimate candidate whose platforms, once viewed by the Republican establishment as fringe beliefs, are increasingly gaining traction.

Stewart alluded to the influence of Paul's ideas during a 2009 appearance, drawing a parallel between Paul's emphasis on minimal government, particularly his calls to abolish the U.S. Federal Reserve, and the rise of the Tea Party faction.

You have been railing against this type of government intervention, the Federal Reserve, for 30, 35 years, said Stewart. Suddenly the Tea Party arises calling for a very similar type of thing. Do you feel like you were like a cool indie band and someone came in and stole your sound?

Paul responded with a scathing attack on the Fed and its ability to manipulate the economy by controlling interest rates and printing money, saying that they have failed in everything they've done, they have given us big government and they have helped in a significant way to undermine our liberty. Texas Gov. Rick Perry echoed that critique recently when he denounced the Fed's policies as treasonous, and Paul has touted his campaign's success in pushing such ideas into the mainstream.

The success of this message is way beyond my expectations, Paul said recently. Who would've ever dreamed that, after 100 years, we'd be talking about the Federal Reserve at debates? I mean, this is fantastic.

Throughout his career, Paul has characterized government overreach as an affront to personal liberty. He has vocally opposed America's extended interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, a view that has gained some support in the current field of Republican presidential candidates. In a 2007 appearance on The Daily Show, he espoused the message of curtaling government spending and trimming the deficit that has come to dominate the Republican Party.

I don't think they're very good conservatives either, Paul said about the Republicans then running for president. They talk about balancing budgets and spending less but they don't really.