The information presented below reflects the 2008 election season and is not representative of changes in titles, roles, or policy views expressed since then.
Rep. Ron Paul attracted attention in the presidential campaign for taking positions not normally associated with a Texas Republican. Formerly a relative unknown, Paul made national headlines in a May 2007 Republican debate in which he argued that the United States provoked the 9/11 terrorist attacks through its aggressive posture toward the Middle East. Though seen as a longshot, Paul continued to generate great interest on social networking sites on the Internet and his fundraising figures remained respectable into early 2008.
Paul, whose views are strongly libertarian, often stresses his unwillingness to vote for any bill that is not “expressly authorized by the Constitution.” He was the only Republican member of Congress running for president who did not vote to authorize the Iraq war in 2002. He remains critical of U.S. involvement in the region and says the war “was sold to us with false information.” Paul’s campaign focuses on typical libertarian issues: small government, lower taxes, free market policies, and non-interventionism abroad.
Paul is also an obstetrician/gynecologist. He got his start in medicine as a flight surgeon in the Air Force in the 1960s before serving in the House in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1988, Paul ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate. He then returned to his medical practice for several years before returning to the House in 1997.
Paul ended his bid for the Republican nomination on June 13, 2008.
Rep. Paul (R-TX) is a critic of U.S. foreign aid. In response to the White House’s 2005 announcement that it would double economic aid to Africa, Paul wrote, “a federal government with nearly $8 trillion in debt has no business giving money to anybody.”
Paul was one of three representatives to vote against the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006. He was also the only representative to vote against the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007.
U.S. Policy toward India
Rep. Paul (R-TX) has addressed India in terms of U.S. policy towards Iran. He says U.S. “provision of nuclear materials to India is a clear violation of the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)], which contradicts “anti-Iran voices” claiming that Iran is violating the NPT. In fact, says Paul, Iran is entitled under the NPT to develop nuclear power “for peaceful purposes.” Further, he argued, “If Iran had a nuclear weapon, why would this be different from Pakistan, India, and North Korea having one? Why does Iran have less right to a defensive weapon than these other countries?”
Paul opposed the U.S. and India Nuclear Cooperation Act of 2006.
Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay
When asked where he stands on Guantanamo in June 2007, Rep. Paul (R-TX) replied, “Shut it down. This is an issue that flies in the face of our civic and legal traditions as outlined in the Constitution.”
Paul voted against the Military Commissions Act.
Rep. Paul (R-TX), who subscribes to libertarian views, is critical of any infringements on civil liberties. In a December 2005 PBS interview, Paul said: “We all should be dedicated to protecting the privacy of all Americans, and never giving permission to a narrow group of people in the executive branch.”
Paul voted against the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act of 2006.
Rep. Paul (R-TX) is strictly non-interventionist and criticizes military campaigns in Afghanistan—where he says the United States replaced “one group of thugs with another”—and in Iraq. He also has opposed many homeland security measures taken in the name of the war on terror, like the implementation of the PATRIOT Act, which he argues undermines “the liberties and privacy of all Americans.”
Charles Peņa, author of Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism, is an adviser to Paul's campaign. Peņa is a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, a senior fellow with the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, a senior fellow with the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and an adviser to the Straus Military Reform Project.
Democracy Promotion in the Arab World
The noninterventionist Rep. Paul (R-TX) voted against the 2006 Iran Freedom Support Act, which he said was reminiscent of legislation passed in the buildup to the Iraq war (WashTimes).
Rep. Paul (R-TX) said in 2006: “The last thing we need is centralized government planning when it comes to our precious energy supplies.” Paul voted against the Clean Energy Act of 2007. He has also called for an end to “all subsidies and special benefits to energy companies.” Paul voted against the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
Paul voted in favor of the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act, which was hailed by environmentalists for its measures promoting clean energy. Paul is against government subsides for ethanol (Grist) and pro-nuclear power.
Rep. Paul (R-TX) has criticized U.S. “meddling” in the Middle East, which, he says, “has only intensified strife and conflict.” He has said U.S. financial aid to Middle Eastern countries is only “adding fuel to the fire” and is “foolish and unconstitutional.” He says Israel does not "need" U.S. aid (Haaretz), and insists he is "not anti-Israel in any way." Though he advocates some U.S. diplomatic role in brokering an end to violence in the West Bank, he says the U.S. “should draw the line at any further entanglement.”
Paul spoke out against a July 2006 House resolution condemning attacks on Israel and “supporting Israel’s right to defend herself.” He argued that the resolution’s “strong message” could lead to an escalation of the war between Israel and Lebanon.
North Korea Policy
Rep. Paul (R-TX) has voiced opposition to sanctions against North Korea. He believes the country could serve as a market for U.S. goods, saying, “Every market we close to our nation's farmers is a market exploited by foreign farmers.”
Rep. Paul (R-TX) is generally opposed to sanctions on Cuba. He has worked against the agricultural trade sanctions, which he says, did "nothing to topple the Castro regime, but they have hurt American farmers and the Cuban people." In February 2008, Paul said the U.S. government should take Fidel Castro's resignation as an opportunity to end the embargo on Cuba. "Cuban markets would be a great place for our farmers and businesses to sell their products. And, the power of free markets would quickly push out the remaining totalitarian remnant, finally ending the Communism in the Western Hemisphere,” Paul said.
In 2000, Paul voted to end trade restrictions on Cuba, which he believes would benefit his constituency of Texas farmers.
Paul voted for a 2001 House bill which would stop enforcement of travel restrictions on Cuba once Castro released political prisoners and extradited those sought by the United States.
Paul voted against the U.S.-China Trade Relations Act of 2000, as well as the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act in 2001.
Rep. Paul (R-TX), a noninterventionist with libertarian views, voted against the 1999 resolution that sent U.S. troops to join NATO peacekeeping forces in Kosovo. He also voted against the resolution authorizing air strikes on Yugoslavia in 1999. That resolution failed in the House. In 2003, Paul voted against the 2003 resolution for the reconstruction of Iraq.
Rep. Paul (R-TX) is one of the Republicans most critical of the Iraq war and one of only six House Republicans to vote against the 2002 resolution authorizing the war. Paul cosponsored the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, which, if passed, would have stopped the troop surge in Iraq and begun redeployment of U.S. troops by May 1, 2007. That act was never voted on.
Rep. Paul (R-TX), who sits on the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology, voted against free trade agreements with Oman, Chile, Singapore and Peru. He was a strong critic of CAFTA, of which he said “I believe in free trade, but this is not free trade. This is regulated, managed trade for the benefit of special interests.” In 2005, Paul supported legislation that would have withdrawn U.S. approval for the World Trade Organization. On his campaign website, Paul criticizes the WTO, which, he says, “has forced Congress to change our laws, yet we still face trade wars.” He has also been critical of NAFTA, which he says “is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico.”
Rep. Paul (R-TX) voted against a number of homeland security measures that he considered to be infringements on personal liberties. Further, he implied in a May 2007 Republican debate that he would do away with the Department of Homeland Security, which he called a “gigantic bureaucracy.” Paul voted against the Patriot Act in 2001. He was one of only four Congressmen to vote against the 2006 DHS Authorization Act. He also voted against implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendation Act in 2007, the Real ID Act of 2005, and the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Paul voted against the Homeland Security Department Authorization Act FY06.
In a speech before the House in April 2007, Paul (R-TX) criticized what he sees as neoconservative efforts to drum up support for military action against Iran. Paul said that although the country “is hardly a perfect democracy, its system is far superior to most of our Arab allies about which we never complain.” The Texas congressman warned that a war against Iran would be disastrous and dismissed the justifications for military action against Iran as “propaganda,” saying that “Iran doesn’t have a nuke and is nowhere close to getting one, according to the CIA.” Instead, Paul advocates a policy of non-interventionism.
Rep. Paul (R-TX) believes "the key to sound environmental policy is respect for private property rights," according to his campaign website. He says the free market prohibits pollution of one's "neighbor's land, air, or water." Paul acknowledges that "some" of climate change is related to human activity, but, he warns, it is extreme "to assume we have to close down everything in this country and in the world because there's a fear that we're going to have this global warming and that we're going to be swallowed up by the oceans," he told Grist in October 2007.
Paul opposes the Kyoto treaty and a carbon tax. He is also critical of the Environmental Protection Agency. "It's a bureaucratic, intrusive approach and it favors those who have political connections."
On the Texas Congressman’s campaign website, Paul stresses the importance of secure borders and lists a six-point plan for immigration policy that says the U.S. must secure borders, enforce visa rules, and end birthright citizenship. Paul is against amnesty and “welfare for illegal aliens.” Paul voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
In February 2008, Paul signed a pledge sponsored by anti-illegal immigration group NumbersUSA that he will "oppose amnesty or any other special path to citizenship for the millions of foreign nationals unlawfully present in the United States."
Rep. Paul (R-TX) strongly opposes the United Nations. He introduced the American Sovereignty Restoration Act in 2003, which would withdraw the United States from the United Nations and would “evict the organization from its New York headquarters.” That act has never been passed. He argues that the United Nations cannot be reformed and that it “is inherently illegitimate, because supra-national government is an inherently illegitimate concept.”
U.S. Policy toward Russia
Rep. Paul (R-TX) advocates a “strong national defense and a policy of non-intervention abroad” to ensure a Russia policy that “seeks our national interest.”
In January 2007, Paul cosponsored a resolution to suspend the antidumping duty orders on imports of solid urea—a substance used in fertilizers, plastics, and animal feed—from Russia and Ukraine. That bill failed.
Paul was the only member of the House to vote against a 2007 resolution “noting the disturbing pattern of killings of numerous independent journalists in Russia since 2000, and urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to authorize cooperation with outside investigators in solving those murders.”
U.S. Policy toward Pakistan
Rep. Paul (R-TX) opposes U.S. aid to Pakistan’s government. In 2005, he criticized the granting of $638 million in aid to Pakistan as unconstitutional.
In December 2007, Paul criticized the U.S. alliance with Pakistan as a provocation to al-Qaeda. He also criticized those advocating military action against terrorists in Pakistan. Threatening Pakistan “makes no sense whatsoever,” he said at an August 2007 Republican debate.
Rep. Paul (R-TX) says the U.S. posture toward nuclear proliferation is hypocritical. “If countries do have a nuclear weapon, they tend to be left alone, or possibly get a subsidy, but if they do not gain such a weapon then we threaten them,” Paul wrote in December 2007. His stance on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is unknown.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Mesa, Arizona on February 22, 2012. It was sponsored by CNN and was moderated by CNN's John King.Participants were Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. This transcript was provided by CNN.
Ron Paul released this "Economic Plan to Restore Nevada" on February 2, 2012. The press release states,
"The plan helps Nevada residents, workers, retirees, debtors, home buyers, homeowners including those facing foreclosure, job-creators like the tourism industry, federal land ownership victims, and other stakeholders renew the Silver State's economy and sovereignty after decades of disastrous Washington interference.
The five key elements of the 'Plan to Restore Nevada' include:
1. Restoring Nevada's Job Market 2. Restoring the Housing Market 3. Restoring Tipped-Worker Wages 4. Restoring a Common Sense Visa System 5. Giving Nevada Back To Nevadans."
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Jacksonville, Florida on January 26, 2012. It was sponsored by CNN and was moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer.Participants were Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. This transcript was provided by the CNN.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Tampa, Florida on January 23, 2012. It was sponsored by NBC News, the National Journal, and the Tampa Bay Times, and was moderated by NBC's Brian Williams.Participants were Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. This transcript was provided by the Chicago Tribune.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Charleston, South Carolina on January 19, 2012. It was sponsored by CNN and moderated by CNN's John King.Participants were Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. This transcript was provided by the Chicago Sun Times.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in South Carolina on January 17, 2012. It was sponsored by Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the South Carolina Republican Party. Participants were New Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by Fox News' Bret Baier. This transcript was provided by Fox News.
This debate between Republican candidates, the last debate before the first Republican presidential primary, was held in Concord, New Hampshire on January 8, 2012. It was co-sponsored by Meet the Press and Facebook.Participants were Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by Meet the Press' David Gregory. This transcript was provided by the Washington Post.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Goffstown, New Hampshire on January 7, 2012. It was sponsored by ABC.Participants were New Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by ABC News' Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. This transcript was provided by the Washington Post.
This debate between Republican candidates on foreign policy and national security was held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on December 10, 2011. It was co-sponsored by ABC News, ABC5/WOI-DT and the Iowa Republican Party. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by ABC's Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. The transcript was provided by ABC.
This debate between Republican candidates on foreign policy and national security was held in Washington, DC on November 22, 2011. It was co-sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The transcript was provided by CNN.
This debate between Republican candidates on foreign policy and national security was held in Spartanburg, South Carolina on November 12, 2011. It was co-sponsored by CBS News, The National Journal, and the South Carolina Republican Party. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by CBS News' Scott Pelley and the National Journal's Major Garrett.
This debate on economics, "Your Money, Your Vote", between Republican candidates on was held in Rochester, Michigan on November 9, 2011. It was co-sponsored by CNBC, the Michigan Republican Party, and Oakland University. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by Maria Bartiromo and John Harwood. This transcript was provided by CNBC.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 18, 2011. It was sponsored by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference.Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper. This transcript was provided by CNN.
This Republican debate was held in Hanover, New Hampshire on October 11, 2011 and was sponsored by the Washington Post and Bloomberg. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, New Gingrich, Jon Hunstman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by Charlie Rose, with questions asked by Karen Tumulty and Julianna Goldman. This transcript was provided by the Washington Post.
This debate between Republican candidates was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, on September 22, 2011. It was co-sponsored by the Fox News, Google, and the Florida Republican Party. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by Fox News' Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace. The transcript was provided by Fox News.
This debate between Republican candidates was held at the Ronald Reagan Memorial Library in Simi Valley, California on September 7, 2011. It was co-sponsored by the Reagan Library, NBC News, and Politico. Participants were Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by Politico's Brian Williams and John Harris, and MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart. The transcript was provided by Roll Call.
This debate between Republican candidates was held in Manchester, New Hampshire on June 13, 2011. It was sponsored by CNN. Participants were Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. It was moderated by CNN's John King. This transcript was provided by CNN.
Ron Paul interviewed by Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor
Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says he is working to reclaim what he calls the traditional values of the GOP, including limited government and less involvement in military campaigns abroad.