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Ron Paul tucks America into bed tonight

October 30, 2007 |  9:40 pm

Rep. Ron Paul had 10 of his 15 minutes of fame this afternoon during the taping in Burbank of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," now a regular stop for political candidates. And he got several rounds of applause. They will echo out of television sets across the country's time zones all this evening as Americans climb into bed.

Jay was a gentle questioner, leading the 72-year-old libertarian through his resume -- 10 terms in Congress, Air Force veteran, ob-gyn who delivered 4,000 babies. "Just NBA players?" asked the host.

"How'd you get into the the sleazy business of politics?" asked Leno. Paul said he became fascinated by economics and realized, "We're on the wrong road and you can't print money out of thin air." (Applause.)

Paul said yes, he was in favor of abolishing the Internal Revenue Service because the country had gotten along fine until the income tax started in 1913 because "we didn't have an empire to worry about." (Applause)

He said: "It was a mistake to go into Iraq." (Applause) He said: "We should follow the Constitution."

He said American troops are unhappy, disenchanted and the country is not safer but is more vulnerable. He said he was not an isolationist, that he supported "the Founders' admonition of peace and commerce with all but entanglements and alliances with none." (Applause)

He said his support was growing "by leaps and bounds" because "the message of liberty is powerful." And that he was a lifelong Republican except for a break to run for president as a Libertarian in 1988.

Then, he added, "There probably is a risk I could win." (Laughter)

He said he probably would not accept an offer of the vice presidential slot, that none of the Republican candidates would support it. But "I'd certainly consider it."

"Good luck to you, sir." (Applause)

--Andrew Malcolm

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