Paul: 'There's no constitutional authority to rule the world'

JOSH JOHNSON
Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle Standard
Saturday December 15, 2007

Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, sat down with the Lahontan Valley News for an interview prior to his speech in Fallon Dec. 13. View an extended video of this interview at:

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, touted a platform of limited government, reduced spending and protection of personal liberties during a campaign speech in Fallon Thursday evening.

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Speaking to an estimated crowd of 175 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge, many of whom identified themselves as Paul supporters, the Texas congressman began his speech by outlining his financial policies, one of which includes ending the federal income tax.

Paul said the United States government was able to support itself before the personal income tax was enacted in 1913 and would be able to do so again through less government and reduced spending.

The country's financial condition has deteriorated since the 1970s, Paul said, citing the return of stagflation, the erosion of the middle class and a weakening of the U.S. dollar.

"Right now, we're in worse shape than 1979-1980," he said.

He said the Federal Reserve System serves special interests - namely the federal government, banks and the military-industrial and health care-industrial complexes - and should be eliminated. He also called for the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education and for more power to be given to local school districts.

In an interview with the LVN prior to his speech, Paul said transition programs would be put in place for areas of government he seeks to eliminate.

"There's not a single area I want to get rid of that doesn't have a transitional program," he said.

He also said he would seek to preserve revenue sharing from federal to state and local governments.

The Texas congressman tied reduced spending with his plans to shrink government as a strategy to improve the nation's financial health, suggesting closing some U.S. military bases overseas and an immediate military withdrawal from Iraq as measures that could be enacted upon his election.

Paul accused the U.S. government of empire building by invading Iraq and positioning itself to do the same in Iran.

"There's no constitutional authority to rule the world," he said.

He compared Iraq to present-day Vietnam, saying Vietnam is now a trading partner with the United States following the U.S. military's withdrawal from that nation.

Paul told the LVN earlier that the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 without a declaration of war by Congress was the most egregious violation of the Constitution in the last 20 years. But when asked why he hasn't supported the impeachment of President Bush, Paul responded that impeachment is the duty of the opposing party, and he would have to consider if a president willfully or ignorantly deserved impeachment before making a decision.

Paul concluded the evening by imploring attendees to participate in the Jan. 19 Republican caucus, saying the small state of Nevada carries much responsibility in next year's election.

"I know my shortcomings, and I'm not the perfect person to deliver this message, but it's the right message," he said before closing his speech.

Mark Feest, chairman of the Churchill County Republican Central Committee, thanked Paul for being the first candidate for president to visit Fallon this election cycle.

"Ron Paul is the first presidential candidate to find Fallon important enough to stop by, and we appreciate that," Feest said.

Paul drew several Fallon residents as well as many visitors from out of town.

Kyle Leckey, a rancher from Oregon, was in Fallon to see Paul with his family while on vacation in Incline Village. Leckey said he and his family have spent their vacation canvassing Incline Village in efforts to spread Paul's message and encourage voters to register as Republicans.

Fallon resident Jan Brown, who considers herself an independent voter, said she followed Paul's voting record for 20 years before deciding to support him for president.

"He's the only non-corrupt politician," said Brown, who's hoping for strong support for Paul in Churchill County during the Republican caucus Jan. 19.

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