Ron Paul in 2011 Republican primary debate in Ames Iowa

On Budget & Economy: Country is bankrupt & we can't keep spending

Q: When Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's credit rating last week, they cited gridlock in Washington.

PAUL: Well, S&P didn't downgrade it because [Congress] couldn't come to a conclusion. They couldn't come to a conclusion because they didn't know what was going on. The country's bankrupt, and nobody wanted to admit it. And when you're bankrupt, you can't keep spending. And all these proposed cuts weren't cuts at all. What you have to do is restore sound money. You have to understand why you have a business cycle, why you have booms and busts. If you don't do that, there's no way you can solve these problems. And the booms and busts comes from a failed monetary system that--the interest rates that are way lower than--than they should be encourages malinvestment and debt. And to get out of that, all this other tinkering, you cannot do that unless you liquidate debt. You don't bail out the people that are bankrupt and dump the debt on the people. That is what's happened.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Budget & Economy: I'm delighted that auditing the Fed has become mainstream

Q: [to Gingrich]: You call for auditing the Fed and stripping it of its banking powers. But Rep. Paul thinks the Fed needs to be abolished to create lasting prosperity. Why is the Fed worth saving?

GINGRICH: Well, I think that having some kind of central bank is an important part of how you deal with monetary policy in the modern world. I think that it is a scandal that the Federal Reserve is secret. And I think, frankly, their monetary policy since the late 90s has been a major factor in the economic pain we're now going through.

Q: [to Paul]: Is Speaker Gingrich wrong to want to save the Fed? PAUL: Not exactly. Because my position isn't that I'd closed the door down immediately, you can phase it out. But there are some other things that we could do in a transition phase. For instance, and I'm delighted that mainstream is catching up with this, these days, for auditing the Fed. This is great.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Civil Rights: No federal marriage licenses & no state licenses either

Q: You've often said you believe defining marriage is a job that should be left to the states. Recently Sen. Santorum asked if a state wanted to allow polygamy, would that be okay too?

PAUL: That is sort of like asking the question if the states wante to legalize slavery or something like that. No state is going to do that. I think marriage should be between a single man and a single woman. And the federal government shouldn't be involved. I want less government involvement. I don't want the federal government having a marriage police. I want the states to deal with it. Really, why do we have to have a license to get married? Why don't we just go to the church? What other individuals do, why can't we permit them to do whatever they call it that is their problem not mine? Just so nobody else forces their definition of marriage on you. That is what we have to prevent. So I would say less government would be better if you have to have regulations let the state governments do it.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Foreign Policy: We installed Shah in Iran; we should mind our own business

Q: [to Ron Paul]: Your policy towards Iran is: No sanctions?

PAUL: No, that makes it much worse. This whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions.

SANTORUM: Well, as the author of the Iran Freedom Support Act, which he is criticizing, it actually imposed sanctions on Iran because of their nuclear program--Iran is not Iceland, Ron. Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979. Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform than the Iraqis and the Afghanis have. The Iranians are the existential threat to the state of Israel, via funding of Hamas and Hezbollah and the support of Syria.

PAUL: The senator is wrong on his history. We've been at war in Iran for a lot longer than 1979. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah, and the blowback came in 1979. It's been going on and on because we just plain don't mind our own business. That's our problem.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Free Trade: Trade sanctions never worked on Cuba, and won't work on Iran

Q: You said about Iran: "Sanctions are not diplomacy; they are a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade."

A: Countries that you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them. I say a policy of peac is free trade. Stay out of their internal business. Don't get involved in these wars. And just bring our troops home.

Q: So your policy towards Iran is, if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their right, no sanctions?

A: No, that makes it much worse. Why would that be so strange, if the Soviets and the Chinese have nuclear weapons? We tolerated the Soviets; we didn't attack them. And they were a much greater danger. You don't go to war against them. This whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions. This is why we still don't have trade relationships with Cuba. It's about time we talked to Cuba and stopped fighting these wars that are about 30 or 40 years old.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Health Care: States CAN mandate insurance, but it's a bad idea

Q: [to Romney]: Where do you find mandating authority for health insurance [as RomneyCare does] in the Constitution?

ROMNEY: Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. It allows states [to mandate insurance].

Q: [to Paul]: Does a state have a constitutional right to make someone buy insurance just because they're a resident?

PAUL: No, the federal government can't go in and prohibit the states from doing bad things. And I would consider that a very bad thing, but you don't send in a federal police force because they're doing it. So they do have that leeway under our Constitution. But we have drifted so far from any of our care being delivered by the marketplace. And once you get the government involved--both parties have done it --they've developed a medical care delivery system based on corporatism. The corporations are doing quite well, whether it's Obama or under the Republicans. The drug companies do well. The insurance companies do well. The patient and the doctors suffer.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Homeland Security: Neither Dems nor GOP will cut one nickel from militarism

Q: What would you do for the economy that could pass through a divided Congress?

A: You have to allow liquidation of debt, eliminate the malinvestment. Then you go back and you can get growth again by having a better tax structure, lower taxes, invite capital back into this country, get a lot less regulations. And under those conditions, you can have growth again.

Q: And you can get it through a divided Congress?

A: Well... the divided Congress will exist for a long time to come. Yes, you would have to get it through a--you'd have to get it through a divided Congress. But the one thing is, if you approach it constitutionally and if you approach it on the principles of liberty, you can bring people together. If we have to cut, maybe we wouldn't be so--so determined that you can't cut one nickel out of the militarism around the world. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans want to cut that. So if you want to cut, you have to put the militarism on the table, as well.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Homeland Security: Many terrorists have been properly tried in US courts

Q: [to Bachmann]: Rep. Paul says terrorism suspects have committed a crime and should be given due process in civilian courts. Why is he wrong?

BACHMANN: Because terrorists who are from foreign countries who commit acts against US citizens do not have any rights under our Constitution.

PAUL: She turns our rule of law on its head. She says that the terrorists don't deserve protection under our courts, but, therefore, a judgment has to be made. They're ruled a terrorist. Who rules them a terrorist? I thought our courts recognized that you had to be tried. And we've done this. We've brought individuals back from Pakistan and other places. We've given them a trial in this country, near 300, we tried and put them in prison. So this idea that we have to reject the rule of law, when you assume somebody is a terrorist, they can be targeted for assassination, even American citizens, that affects all of us eventually. You don't want to translate our rule of law into mob rule.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On Immigration: Pay attention to US borders, not international borders

Q: Why are you opposed to a system that requires employers to verify the immigration status of their workers?

A: I don't like putting the burden on our businessmen to be the policemen. That means he has to be policing activity. But I have a strong position on immigration. I don't think that we should give amnesty and they become voters. But I do think we should deal with our borders. One way that I would suggest that we could do it is pay less attention to the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and bring our troops home and deal with the border. But why do we pay more attention to the borders overseas and less attention to the borders here at home? We now have a mess on the borders, and it has a lot more to do with it than just immigration, because we're financing some of this militarism against the drug dealers on the borders right now to the tune of over $1 billion. And there is a mess down there, but it's much bigger than just the immigration problem.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On War & Peace: Of course Iran wants nukes; talk to them like we did USSR

Q: On Iran's nuclear ambitions, you wrote: "One can understand why they might want to become nuclear capable, if only to defend themselves and to be treated more respectfully." Is that your policy towards Iran?

A: Even our own CIA has no evidence that they're working on a weapon. Just think of what we went through in the Cold War. All through the '60s, we were standing up against the Soviets. They had like 30,000 nuclear weapons with intercontinental missiles. Just think of the agitation and the worrying that a country might get a nuclear weapon some day. And just think of how many nuclear weapons surround Iran. The Chinese. The Indians. The Pakistanis. The Israelis. All these countries have nuclear weapons. Why wouldn't it be natural that they might want a weapon? Internationally, they'd be given more respect. Why should we write people off? In the '50s, we at least talked to them. At least our leaders and Reagan talked to the Soviets. What's so terribly bad about this?

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

On War & Peace: I worry about war propaganda will lead to war against Iran

SANTORUM [to Paul]: Iran is the greatest supporter of terrorism in the world and is setting up training camps with Venezuela. I authored the Iran Freedom and Support Act back in 2004. If Rick Santorum is president, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon because the world as we know it will be no more.

PAUL: You've heard the war propaganda that is liable to lead us into a sixth war. And I worry about that position. Iran is a threat because they have some militants there. But believe me, they're all around the world and they're not a whole lot different than others. Iran does not have an air force that can come here. They can't even make enough gasoline for themselves. And here we are building this case up, just like we did in Iraq--build up the war propaganda. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq. And [Bush claimed Iraq] had nuclear weapons and we had to go in. I'm sure you supported that war, as well. It's time we quit this. It's trillions of dollars we're spending on these wars.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

The above quotations are from 2011 Republican primary debate at the Iowa State Fair.
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