Ron Paul announces he is forming an exploratory committee to run for president -- again
Ron Paul, the conservative Texas congressman who made headlines during the last presidential election with his blimp, record-breaking "money-bombs" and grass-roots Internet appeal, announced Tuesday that he was forming an exploratory committee to gauge his chances of winning the GOP nomination for president.
"I would be very surprised if I don't make that decision in the month of May," Paul told a group of about 60 reporters at a Des Moines hotel.
Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll in February, beating former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 7 points. However, at the same conference, billionaire Donald Trump told the audience that Paul didn't have a shot in the real election.
"I like Ron Paul, but he has no chance of getting elected," Trump declared.
"I do see a lot of support," Paul, the father of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. "But sometimes you get a lot of support from vocal supporters, but you don't ...
... know if they are fooling you." The 75-year-old Republican was interviewed by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Tuesday on CNN's "In the Arena," where he was asked why so many other Republicans like Hailey Barbour were so reluctant to get in the ring and challenge President Obama during a time when opinion polls show he may be vulnerable.
"They may be thinking they have to be cautious," Paul replied. "They maybe believe the president is stronger than some of the polls show. And the president is liked a lot, and you know in politics being liked is very important. So maybe they don’t think [Obama’s] as vulnerable as the polls indicate he might be."
Paul also told Spitzer that if he became president he would allow young people to opt out of certain entitlements.
"I think most of the public is going to be rather astonished to hear you think Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all unconstitutional," Spitzer asked.
"Technically speaking they’re unconstitutional," Paul replied.
"So if you were president you would not put them in your budget?" Spitzer asked.
"Well, I think what I would do is propose a transition time. I would give the young people, and they’re overwhelmingly in support of my suggestion, that if you’re young and you’re getting out of college and starting in the workforce, opt out. They want to opt out of Obamacare, I’d let them opt out and not have to pay any of the tax," Paul said.
-- Tony Pierce
Photo: A supporter holds a sign as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) speaks during a news conference Tuesday, April 26, 2011, in Des Moines. Paul says he's forming a campaign exploratory committee as he moves closer to again seeking the Republican nomination for president. Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall