Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American physician, author, and politician who has been serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 14th congressional district, which includes Galveston, since 1997. He is a three-time candidate for President of the United States, as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012. He is a member of the Republican Party. He holds libertarian views and is a critic of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, including the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve.
A native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Green Tree, Pennsylvania, Paul is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Duke University School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree. He served as a medical officer in the United States Air Force from 1963 until 1968. He worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 1960s to the 1980s, delivering more than 4,000 babies. He became the first Representative in history to serve concurrently with a child in the Senate when his son Rand Paul was elected to the United States Senate for Kentucky in 2010.
As well as publicizing the ideas of Austrian Economists such as Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises during his political campaigns, Paul has also been an active writer on the topics of political and economic theory. In addition to contributing economic literature to the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he has written many books, beginning with The Case for Gold (1982) and including Liberty Defined (2011), End The Fed (2009), The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008), Pillars of Prosperity (2008), and A Foreign Policy of Freedom (2007).
Paul has been characterized as the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party movement. On July 12, 2011, Paul announced that he would forgo seeking another term in Congress in order to focus on his presidential bid. On May 14, 2012, Paul announced that he would not be competing in any other Presidential primaries, but that he would still compete for delegates in states where the primary elections have already been held. At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Paul received the second most votes from the attending delegates.
Early life, education, and medical career
Ronald Ernest Paul was born on August 20, 1935, in Pittsburgh, the son of Howard Caspar Paul, who ran a small dairy company, and Margaret (née Dumont) Paul. His paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Germany, and his mother was of German and Irish ancestry.
As a junior at suburban Dormont High School, he was the 220-yard dash state champion. He graduated from Gettysburg College with a B.S. degree in Biology in 1957.
Paul earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University's School of Medicine in 1961, and completed his medical internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.
Paul and his wife then relocated to Texas, where he began a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology.
Early congressional career (1976–1985)
While still a medical resident in the 1960s, Paul was influenced by Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, which caused him to read many publications by Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. He came to know economists Hans Sennholz and Murray Rothbard well, and credits to them his interest in the study of economics.
When President Richard Nixon "closed the gold window" by ending American participation in the Bretton Woods System, thus ending U.S. dollar's loose association with gold on August 15, 1971, Paul decided to enter politics and became a Republican candidate for the United States Congress.
In 1974, incumbent Robert R. Casey defeated him for the 22nd district. President Gerald Ford later appointed Casey to direct the Federal Maritime Commission, and Paul won an April 1976 special election to the vacant office. Paul lost the next regular election to Democrat Robert Gammage by fewer than 300 votes (0.2%), but defeated Gammage in a 1978 rematch, and was reelected in 1980 and 1982. Gammage underestimated Paul's popularity among local mothers: "I had real difficulty down in Brazoria County, where he practiced, because he'd delivered half the babies in the county. There were only two obstetricians in the county, and the other one was his partner."
Paul has served in Congress three different periods: first from 1976 to 1977, after he won a special election, then from 1979 to 1985, and finally since 1997.
In his early years, Paul served on the House Banking Committee, where he blamed the Federal Reserve for inflation and spoke against the banking mismanagement that resulted in the savings and loan crisis. Paul argued for a return to the gold standard maintained by the US from 1873-1933, and with Senator Jesse Helms convinced the Congress to study the issue. He spoke against the reinstatement of registration for the military draft in 1980, in opposition to President Jimmy Carter and the majority of his fellow Republican members of Congress.
During his first term, Paul founded the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE), a non-profit "think tank" dedicated to promoting principles of limited government and free-market economics.
Paul proposed term-limit legislation multiple times, while himself serving four terms in the House of Representatives. In 1984, he decided to retire from the House in order to run for the U.S. Senate, complaining in his House farewell address that "Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare.... It's difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic." (On Paul's departure from the House, his congressional seat was assumed by former state representative Tom DeLay, who would eventually become House Majority Leader.)
1984 U.S. Senate election
In 1984, Paul campaigned for the U.S. Senate, but lost the Republican primary to Phil Gramm, who had switched parties the previous year from Democrat to Republican. Another candidate of the senatorial primary was Henry Grover, a conservative former state legislator who had lost the 1972 gubernatorial general election to the Democrat Dolph Briscoe, Jr.
Libertarian Party and ventures
Following the loss of the 1984 senate race, Paul returned to his obstetrics practice and took part in a number of other business ventures. Along with his former congressional chief of staff, Lew Rockwell, Paul founded a for-profit enterprise, Ron Paul & Associates, Inc. (RP&A) in 1984, with Paul serving as president, Rockwell as vice president, Paul's wife Carol as secretary, and daughter Lori Pyeatt as treasurer. The company published a variety of political and investment-oriented newsletters including Ron Paul Freedom Report and Ron Paul Survival Report, and by 1993 was generating revenues in excess of $900,000.
Paul also co-owned a mail-order coin dealership, Ron Paul Coins, for twelve years with Burt Blumert, who continued to operate the dealership after Paul resumed office in 1996. Paul spoke multiple times at the American Numismatic Association's 1988 convention. He worked with his Foundation for Rational Economics and Education on such projects as establishing the National Endowment for Liberty, producing the At Issue public policy series that was broadcast on the Discovery Channel and CNBC, and continuing publication of newsletters.
1988 presidential campaign
Paul resigned from the Republican Party in 1987 and launched a bid for the presidency running on the Libertarian Party ticket. His candidacy was seen as problematic because of the party's long support for freedom of choice on abortions. Native American activist Russell Means emphasized that he was pro-choice on the abortion issue. In a forum held prior to the nomination, Means dismissed the greater funds raised by Paul's campaign, commenting that Means was receiving "10 times more press" than the former Congressman and was therefore "100 times more effective".
In the 1988 presidential election, Paul was on the ballot in 46 States, scoring third in the popular vote with 432,179 votes (0.5%). Paul was kept off the ballot in Missouri, and received votes there only when written in, due to what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch termed a "technicality".
According to Paul, his presidential campaign was about more than obtaining office; he sought to promote his libertarian ideas, often to school and university groups regardless of vote eligibility. He said, "We're just as interested in the future generation as this election. These kids will vote eventually, and maybe, just maybe, they'll go home and talk to their parents."
Paul considered campaigning for President during 1992, but instead chose to endorse Pat Buchanan that year, and served as an adviser to Buchanan's Republican presidential primary campaign against incumbent President George H. W. Bush.
Later congressional career (1997–present)
An earlier congressional portrait of Paul
- 1996 campaign
During 1996, Paul was re-elected to Congress after a difficult campaign. The Republican National Committee endorsed incumbent Greg Laughlin in the primary; Paul won with assistance from baseball pitcher, constituent, and friend Nolan Ryan, tax activist and publisher Steve Forbes and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan (both of whom had had presidential campaigns that year). Paul narrowly defeated Democratic attorney Charles "Lefty" Morris in the fall election, despite Morris' criticism over controversial statements in several newsletters that Ron Paul published.
In 1998 and 2000, Paul defeated Loy Sneary, a Democratic Bay City, Texas, rice farmer and former Matagorda County judge. In the 2008 Republican primary, he defeated Friendswood city councilman Chris Peden, with over 70 percent of the vote and ran unopposed in the general election. In the 2010 Republican primary, Paul defeated three opponents with 80 percent of the vote.
On July 12, 2011, Paul announced that he would not seek re-election to the House in order to pursue the 2012 presidential election.
Of the 620 bills that Paul had sponsored through December 2011, over a period of more than 22 years in Congress, only one had been signed into law – a lifetime success rate of less than 0.3%. The sole measure authored by Paul that was ultimately enacted allowed for a federal customhouse to be sold to a local historic preservation society (H.R. 2121 in 2009).
By amending other legislation, he has helped prohibit funding for national identification numbers, funding for federal teacher certification, International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the U.S. military, American participation with any U.N. global tax, and surveillance of peaceful First Amendment activities by citizens.
Paul was honorary chairman of, and is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a political action committee that describes its goal as electing "liberty-minded, limited-government individuals". He is an initiating member of the Congressional Rural Caucus, which deals with agricultural and rural issues, and the 140-member Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus.
Rep. Paul serves on the following committee and subcommittees.
With the election of the 112th Congress, and a resulting GOP majority in the House, Paul became the chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology starting in January 2011.
2008 presidential campaign
2008 Republican primary campaign
Paul formally declared his candidacy for the 2008 Republican nomination on March 12, 2007, on C-SPAN. Few major politicians endorsed him, and his campaign was largely ignored by traditional media. However, he attracted an intensely loyal grassroots following, in large part energized by "iconoclastic white men" interacting through internet social media. In May 2007, shortly after the first televised primary debates, the blogs search engine site Technorati.com listed Paul's name as the term most frequently searched for; and Paul's campaign claimed that Paul had more YouTube channel subscribers than Barack Obama or any other candidate for president. For a candidate who had had relatively low national name recognition prior to entering the race, Paul did surprisingly well in fundraising, taking in more money than any other Republican candidate in the fourth quarter of 2007, as the primary season headed into the Iowa caucuses.
Despite benefiting from large numbers of campaign contributions from individual donors, and the efforts of tech-savvy supporters determined to keep his name a frequent topic of discussion on the internet, over the course of the campaign Paul was unable to translate the enthusiasm of his core supporters into large enough numbers of actual primary votes to unseat his rivals.
Paul came in 5th place in both the January 4 Iowa caucuses (10% of votes cast) and the January 8 New Hampshire primary (8%). With the exception of the Nevada caucuses January 19, where he came in 2nd (14%) behind Romney (51%), he did little better through the rest of January: Michigan 4th (6%), South Carolina 5th (4%), Florida 5th (3%). On SuperTuesday, February 5, he placed 4th in almost every state, generally taking in a mere 3–6% of the votes (although he did better in the mountain states of North Dakota (21%, 3rd place) and Montana (25%, 2nd place).
By March, front-runner John McCain had secured enough pledged delegates to guarantee that he would win the nomination, and Romney and Huckabee had both formally withdrawn from the race. Paul, who had won no state primaries, knew that it was now mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination, as he had captured only 20 – 40 pledged delegates compared to more than 1,191 for McCain, yet he refused to concede the race and said that it was unlikely that he would ultimately endorse McCain. Over the next few weeks, Paul's supporters clashed with establishment Republicans at several county and state party conventions over state party rules, the party platforms, and selection of delegates for the national convention. In one of the more dramatic moments, Nevada's state party leaders, outmaneuvered by Paul supporters at the state nominating convention, resorted to the highly unusual measure of prematurely and abruptly shutting down the convention before selecting national delegates, with a plan to reconvene at a later date.
On June 12, 2008, Paul finally withdrew his bid for the Republican nomination. He later said that one of the reasons he did not run in the general election as a third-party candidate, after losing the primaries, was that, as a concession to gain ballot access in certain states, he had signed legally-binding agreements to not run a third-party campaign if he lost the primary. Some of the $4 million remaining campaign contributions was invested into the new political action and advocacy group called Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty.
Refusal to endorse the Republican candidate
At a September 10, 2008, press conference, Paul announced his general support of four third-party candidates: Cynthia McKinney (Green Party); Bob Barr (Libertarian Party); Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party); and Ralph Nader (independent). He said that each of them had pledged to adhere to a policy of balancing budgets, bringing the troops home, defending privacy and personal liberties, and investigating the Federal Reserve. Paul also said that under no circumstances would he be endorsing either of the two dominant parties' candidates (McCain – Republican Party, or Obama – Democratic Party) because there were no real differences between them, and because neither of them, if elected, would seek to make the fundamental changes in governance that were necessary. He urged instead that, rather than contribute to the “charade” that the two-party election system had become, the voters support the third-party candidates as a protest vote, to force change in the election process. Later that same day, Paul gave a televised interview with Nader saying much the same again.
Two weeks later, "shocked and disappointed" that Bob Barr (the Libertarian candidate) had pulled out of attending the press conference at the last minute and had admonished Paul for remaining neutral and failing to say which specific candidate Paul would vote for in the general election, Paul released a statement saying that he had decided to endorse Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate, for president.
In the November 2008 general election, Paul received 41,905 votes despite not actively campaigning.
2012 presidential campaign
He won several early straw polls for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination  and in late April, 2011, he formed an official exploratory committee. He participated in the first Republican presidential debate on May 5, 2011. and on May 13, 2011, Paul formally announced his candidacy in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America. He placed second in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll, missing first by 0.9%.
In December 2011, with Ron Paul's increased support, the controversy over allegedly racist and homophobic statements in several Ron Paul newsletters in the 1980s and early 1990s once again gained media attention. During this time Paul supporters asserted that he was continually ignored by the media despite his significant support, citing examples of where television news shows would fail to mention Paul in discussions of the Republican presidential hopefuls even when he was polling second.
Paul came in third in the Iowa Republican Caucus held on January 3, 2012. Out of a turnout of 121,503 votes, Paul took 26,036 (21%) of the certified votes. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney finished in a virtual tie for first place with 25% each. In the New Hampshire Primary held on January 10, 2012, Paul received 23% of the votes and came in second after Romney's 39%.
Ron Paul's results then declined, despite the withdrawal of candidates Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry. He had fourth place finishes in the next two primaries, on January 21 in South Carolina (with 13% of the vote) and on January 31 in Florida (where he received 7% of the vote.)
On February 4, Paul finished third in Nevada with 18.8% of the vote. Three non-binding primaries were held on February 7; Paul took 3rd place in Colorado and Missouri with 13% and 12% of the vote respectively. He fared better in Minnesota with 27%, finishing second to Rick Santorum.
On May 14, Paul's campaign announced that due to lack of funds he would no longer actively campaign for votes in the 11 remaining primary states, including Texas and California, that had not yet voted. He would, however, continue to seek to win delegates for the national party convention in the states that had already voted.
In June, a group of 132 supporters of Paul, demanding the freedom as delegates to the upcoming Republican party national convention to cast votes for Paul, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Republican National Committee and 55 state and territorial Republican party organizations for allegedly coercing delegates to choose Mitt Romney as the party’s presidential nominee. The suit alleged that there had been “a systematic campaign of election fraud at state conventions,” employing rigging of voting machines, ballot stuffing, and falsification of ballot totals. The suit further pointed to incidents at state conventions, including acts of violence and changes in procedural rules, allegedly intended to deny participation of Paul supporters in the party decision-making and to prevent votes from being cast for Paul. An attorney representing the complainants said that Paul campaign advisor Doug Wead had voiced support for the legal action. Paul himself told CNN that although the lawsuit was not a part of his campaign’s strategy and that he had not been advising his supporters to sue, he was not going to tell his supporters not to sue, if they had a legitimate argument. “If they’re not following the rules, you have a right to stand up for the rules. I think for the most part these winning caucuses that we've been involved in we have followed the rules. And the other side has at times not followed the rules.”
Paul declined to speak at the Republican National Convention as a matter of principle, saying that the convention planners had demanded that his remarks be vetted by the Romney campaign and that he make an unqualified endorsement of Romney. Paul had felt that "It wouldn’t be my speech.... That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.” Many of Paul's supporters and delegates walked out of the convention in protest over rules adopted by the convention that reduced their delegate count and that would make it harder for non-establishment candidates to win the party's nomination in future elections. Supporters and media commentators had noted that the delegations from states where Paul had had the most support were given the worst seats in the convention hall, while delegations from regions with no electoral votes, such as the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, were given prime seats at the front.
Paul ultimately refused to endose the Romney–Ryan ticket selected by the Republican Party. He said that there was no essential difference between Romney and his Democratic opponent, Obama, on the most critical policies: "I’ve been in this business a long time and believe me there is essentially no difference from one administration to another no matter what the platforms.... The foreign policy stays the same, the monetary policy stays the same, there’s no proposal for any real cuts and both parties support it."
Political party identification
Throughout his entire tenure in Congress, Paul has represented his district as a member of the Republican Party. However, he has frequently taken positions in direct opposition to the other members and the leadership of the party, and he has sometimes publicly questioned whether he really belonged in the party.
Ron Paul voted for Dwight Eisenhower for President in 1956 when he was 21 years old. He had been a lifelong supporter of the Republican Party by the time he entered politics in the mid 1970s. He was one of the first elected officials in the nation to support Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, and he actively campaigned for Reagan in 1976 and 1980. After Reagan's election in 1980, Paul quickly became disillusioned with the Reagan administration's policies. He later recalled being the only Republican to vote against Reagan budget proposals in 1981, aghast that "in 1977, Jimmy Carter proposed a budget with a $38 billion deficit, and every Republican in the House voted against it. In 1981, Reagan proposed a budget with a $45 billion deficit – which turned out to be $113 billion – and Republicans were cheering his great victory. They were living in a storybook land." He expressed his disgust with the political culture of both major parties in a speech delivered in 1984 upon resigning from the House of Representatives to prepare for a (failed) run for the Senate, and he eventually apologized to his Libertarian friends for having supported Reagan.
By 1987, Paul was ready to sever all ties to the Republican Party, as he explained in a blistering resignation letter: "Since  Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party have given us skyrocketing deficits, and astoundingly a doubled national debt. How is it that the party of balanced budgets, with control of the White House and Senate, accumulated red ink greater than all previous administrations put together? ... There is no credibility left for the Republican Party as a force to reduce the size of government. That is the message of the Reagan years." A month later he announced he would seek the 1988 Libertarian Party nomination for president.
During the 1988 campaign, Paul called Reagan "a dramatic failure" and complained that "Reagan's record is disgraceful. He starts wars, breaks the law, supplies terrorists with guns made at taxpayers' expense and lies about it to the American people." Paul predicted that "the Republicans are on their way out as a major party," and he said that, although registered as a Republican, he had always been a Libertarian at heart.
Paul returned to his private medical practice and managing several business ventures after losing the 1988 election; but by 1996, he was ready to return to politics, this time running on the Republican Party ticket again. He said that he had never read the entire Libertarian platform when he ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, and that "I worked for the Libertarians on my terms, not theirs." He added that in terms of a political label he preferred to call himself "a constitutionalist. In Congress I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, not the (Republican) platform."
When he lost the Republican Party presidential primary election in 2008, Paul criticized the two major political parties, saying that there was no real difference between the parties and that neither of them truly intended to challenge the status quo. He refused to endorse the Republican Party's nominee for president, John McCain, and lent his support to third-party candidates instead.
In 2012 presidential campaign, during which he acknowledged it was unlikely that he would win the Republican Party nomination, Paul again asserted that he was participating in the Republican Party on his own terms, trying to persuade the rest of the party to move toward his positions rather than joining in with theirs. He expressed doubt that he would support any of his rivals should they win the nomination, warning that, “If the policies of the Republican Party are the same as the Democrat Party and they don't want to change anything on foreign policy, they don't want to cut anything, they don't want to audit the Fed and find out about monetary policy, they don't want to have actual change in government, that is a problem for me." On that same theme he said in another interview, "I would be reluctant to jump on board and tell all of the supporters that have given me trust and money that all of a sudden, I'd say, [all] we've done is for naught. So, let's support anybody at all ... even if they disagree with everything that we do."
Paul has been described as conservative and libertarian. According to University of Georgia political scientist Keith Poole, Paul had the most conservative voting record of any member of Congress from 1937 to 2002, and is the most conservative of the candidates seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for president, on a scale primarily measuring positions on the role of government in managing the economy – not positions on social issues or foreign policy matters. Other analyses, in which key votes on domestic social issues and foreign policy factor more heavily, have judged Paul much more moderate. The National Journal, for instance, rated Paul only the 145th most conservative member of the House of Representatives based on votes cast in 2010.
The foundation of Paul's political philosophy is the conviction that "the proper role for government in America is to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system for acts of force and fraud, and little else." He has been nicknamed "Dr. No," reflecting both his medical degree and his insistence that he will "never vote for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution."
Paul is a proponent of Austrian School economics; he has authored six books on the subject, and displays pictures of Austrian School economists Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises (as well as of Grover Cleveland) on his office wall. He regularly votes against almost all proposals for new government spending, initiatives, or taxes; he cast two thirds of all the lone negative votes in the House during a 1995–1997 period.
He has pledged never to raise taxes and states he has never voted to approve a budget deficit. Paul believes that the country could abolish the individual income tax by scaling back federal spending to its fiscal year 2000 levels; financing government operations would be primarily by excise taxes and non-protectionist tariffs. He endorses eliminating most federal government agencies, terming them unnecessary bureaucracies.
On April 15, 2011, Paul was one of four Republican members of Congress to vote against Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal, known as "The Path to Prosperity."
Paul has a consistent record, having warned of hyperinflation as far back as 1981. While Paul believes the longterm decrease of the U.S. dollar's purchasing power by inflation is attributable to its lack of any commodity backing, he does not endorse a "return" to a gold standard – as the U.S. government has established during the past – but instead prefers to eliminate legal tender laws and to remove the sales tax on gold and silver, so that the market may freely decide what type of monetary standard(s) there shall be. Since 1999, he has introduced bills into each Congress seeking to eliminate the Federal Reserve System in a single year.
Paul's foreign policy of nonintervention made him the only 2008 Republican presidential candidate to have voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. He advocates withdrawal from the United Nations, and from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, for reasons of maintaining strong national sovereignty.
He endorses free trade, rejecting membership in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization as "managed trade". He endorses increased border security and opposes welfare for illegal aliens, birthright citizenship and amnesty; he voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006. He voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists in response to the September 11 attacks, but suggested war alternatives such as authorizing the president to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal targeting specific terrorists. An opponent of the Iraq War and potential war with Iran, he has also criticized neoconservatism and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, arguing that both inadvertently cause terrorist reprisals against Americans. Paul has stated that "Israel is our close friend" and that it is not the place of the United States to "dictate how Israel runs her affairs".
Paul endorses constitutional rights, such as the right to keep and bear arms, and habeas corpus for political detainees. He opposes the Patriot Act, federal use of torture, presidential autonomy, a national identification card, warrantless domestic surveillance, and the draft. Paul also believes that the notion of the separation of church and state is currently misused by the court system: "In case after case, the Supreme Court has used the infamous 'separation of church and state' metaphor to uphold court decisions that allow the federal government to intrude upon and deprive citizens of their religious liberty."
Citing the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, Paul advocates states' rights to decide how to regulate social matters not cited directly by the Constitution. He opposes federal regulation of the death penalty (although he opposes capital punishment), of education, and of marriage, and endorsed revising the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy to concern mainly disruptive sexual behavior (whether heterosexual or homosexual).
Paul says his years as an obstetrician led him to believe life begins at conception.
He terms himself "strongly pro-life", "an unshakable foe of abortion", and believes regulation or ban on medical decisions about maternal or fetal health is "best handled at the state level". His abortion-related legislation, like the Sanctity of Life Act, is intended to negate Roe v. Wade and to get "the federal government completely out of the business of regulating state matters."
Paul has stated that "The government shouldn't be in the medical business." He pushes to eliminate federal involvement with and management of health care, which he argues would allow prices to decrease due to the fundamental dynamics of a free market. Paul also opposes the federal War on Drugs, and believes the states should decide whether to regulate or deregulate drugs such as medical marijuana. He also opposes federal government influenza inoculation programs.
As a free-market environmentalist, he asserts private property rights in relation to environmental protection and pollution prevention. He called global warming a hoax in a 2009 Fox Business interview, saying, "You know, the greatest hoax I think that has been around in many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on the environment and global warming." He acknowledges there is clear evidence of rising temperatures in some parts of the globe, but says that temperatures are cooling in other parts.
Paul was critical of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, arguing that it sanctioned federal interference in the labor market and did not improve race relations. He once remarked: "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society". Paul opposes affirmative action.
He is an outspoken proponent of increased ballot access for 3rd party candidates, but has sought to repeal the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also known as the Motor Voter law.
Beginning in 1978, for more than two decades Paul and his associates published a number of political and investment-oriented newsletters bearing his name (Dr. Ron Paul's Freedom Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report, the Ron Paul Investment Letter, and the Ron Paul Political Report). By 1993, a business through which Paul was publishing the newsletters was earning in excess of $900,000 per year.
A number of the newsletters, particularly in the period between 1988 and 1994 when Paul was no longer in Congress, contained material that later proved highly controversial, dwelling on conspiracy theories, praising anti-government militia movements, and warning of coming race wars. During Paul's 1996 congressional election campaign, and his 2008 and 2012 presidential primary campaigns, critics charged that some of the passages reflected racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic bigotry.
The newsletters included statements such as:
- "... I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in [Washington, DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
- "Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day!"
- "An ex-cop I know advises that if you have to use a gun on a youth [to defend yourself against armed robbery], you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible.... I frankly don't know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming."
- “I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. They could also not be as promiscuous. Is it any coincidence that the AIDS epidemic developed after they came 'out of the closet,' and started hyper-promiscuous sodomy? I don't believe so, medically or morally.”
- “[Magic] Johnson may be a sports star, but he is dying [of AIDS] because he violated moral laws.”
- “[T]he criminal ‘Justice’ Department wants to force dentists to treat these Darth Vader types [people with AIDS] under the vicious Americans With Disabilities Act;" and “[W]e all have the right to discriminate, which is what freedom of association is all about, especially against killers [AIDS patients].”
Other passages referred to former Secretary of Health & Human Services Donna Shalala as a “short lesbian” and Martin Luther King, Jr. as a pedophile and “lying socialist satyr" – while offering praise for former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke and other controversial figures.
When criticism of the newsletters was leveled against Paul during his 1996 congressional election, he did not deny writing the newsletters, but instead defended them and said that the material had been taken out of context. In later years, Paul said that the controversial material had been ghostwritten by members of a team that included 6 or 8 others and that, as publisher, not editor, he had not even been aware of the content of the controversial articles until years after they had been published. He eventually disavowed those passages, and stated that in 1996 his campaign advisers had thought denying authorship would be too confusing and that he had to live with the material published under his name. Some political commentators made note of the changing nature of the explanations he had provided over the years about his involvement with the newsletters.
An estranged former long-term aide of Paul, Eric Dondero, alleged that Paul was lying about his role in the production of the controversial newsletters. During the 2012 Republican presidential primary campaign, in January 2012, the Washington Post reported that several of Paul's former associates said that Paul had been very involved in the production of the newsletters and had allowed the controversial material to be included as part of a deliberate strategy to boost profits. Paul's former secretary said, "It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product.... He would proof it." Paul continued to deny the accusations and to disavow the material.
Paul has been married to Carol Wells since 1957. They met in 1952 when Wells asked Paul to be her escort to her 16th birthday party. They have five children, who were baptized Episcopalian: Ronald, Lori, Randal, Robert, and Joy. Paul's son Randal is the junior United States senator from the state of Kentucky. Raised a Lutheran, Paul later became a Baptist.
- Paul, Ron (1981) (PDF). Gold, Peace, and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency. Lake Jackson, Texas: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education. OCLC 7877384. http://www.mises.org/books/goldpeace.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- Paul, Ron; Lehrman, Lewis; U.S. Gold Commission (September 1982) (PDF). The Case for Gold: A Minority Report of the U.S. Gold Commission. Washington, DC: Cato Institute (2d ed. Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007). ISBN 0-932790-31-3. OCLC 8763972. http://www.mises.org/books/caseforgold.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- Paul, Ron (1983). Abortion and Liberty. Lake Jackson, Texas: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education. ISBN 0-912453-02-8. OCLC 9682249.
- Paul, Ron (1983). Ten Myths About Paper Money: And One Myth About Paper Gold. Lake Jackson, Texas: Foundation for Rational Economics and Education. OCLC 11765863.
- Paul, Ron (1984) (PDF). Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute (2d ed. 2004). OCLC 19968524. http://www.mises.org/books/paulmises.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
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