Ron Paul called Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren “a socialist” and suggested the federal highway system was a mistake.
“Nightline” anchor Terry Moran read to Paul a widely cited viral video defense of government by Warren, the consumer advocate who is running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat.
ABC News and Yahoo News, one year out from election day 2012, are interviewing all of the major Republican presidential candidates. And none of them more purely represents the small government ethos than Paul.
He responded to Warren’s argument that a wealthy person has benefited from government in areas like security and roads and should give back.
“She’s a socialist,” Paul said. “She wants the government to do all this.”
“When the state runs things that is a socialist idea that it should be collective,” he said. “I preach home schooling and private schooling and competition in schools.”
“But what she forgets – she’s right. By the use of force… the government comes with a gun and they take money from you and they build a highway that incidentally you can use because you don’t have any other choices.”
“Governments are always destructive in the production of wealth,” said Paul. “They pretend they are going to take care of us like - well the government is going to give us a house – look at what happened to the house. The big guys all got bailed out who ripped us off and the derivatives in the bank, they’re still being protected. Middle class lost it and they lost their houses, so her whole argument is wrong.”
The libertarian leaning Republican candidate for president also weighed in on foreign policy. He said that if he were president, U.S. allies would be on their own.
Paul said that if South Korea, Taiwan, or Israel were attacked, a Paul White House wouldn’t immediately respond, adding that he would study the situation and if warranted, ask Congress to retaliate. He argued that that treaties don’t amend the Constitution and making future generations honor those treaties would be wrong.
Such a radical redefinition of America’s role in the world is at odds with the most conservative members of his party.
Paul’s plans have been criticized by fellow GOP rival Rick Santorum as being “irrational” and a voter in Concord, New Hampshire, told Paul at a campaign stop that he’s “off his rocker.”
Paul defended extending the Bush tax cuts in a time of austerity by insisting that if you’re rich and productive, you shouldn’t be punished.
Paul has also been dogged recently with questions about a possible third party run if he falls short in the Republican primary. Paul said he’s has “no intention” of running on a third-party ticket.
But not all the questions revolved around policy and politics. Paul revealed that his favorite junk food is chocolate chip cookies, he uses an iPad, and although he doesn’t watch a lot of TV, he said he does watch ABC News.