Ron Paul Likely Won’t Endorse McCain, Eyes Third Party Candidate (video)

By Fred Lucas | September 3, 2008 | 8:59 AM EDT
Minneapolis, Minn.  (CNSNews.com) – Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who will remain a Republican presidential candidate until the convention delegates actually vote to nominate John McCain, told CNSNews.com on Tuesday that he is not willing to say he would vote for McCain and has not made a decision between Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin.
 
When asked by CNSNews.com in a video interview whether he was more likely to vote for a third party candidate than Republican candidate McCain, Paul said:  “Oh yes, absolutely.”
 
However, he said he did not know if that would be Barr, a former Georgia congressman, or Baldwin. Paul was the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1988.



On Tuesday, while the Republican National Convention convened in Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, nearly 10,000 Paul supporters gathered at the Target Center in Minneapolis to hear Paul speak.
 
It was an all-day event. By morning, many of his supporters were wearing “Ron Paul for President” t-shirts. Some wore “John Birch Society” shirts, while another was seen in a “9/11 Truth Now” t-shirt.
 
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and Barry Goldwater Jr., son of the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, also spoke at the Ron Paul rally. MSNBC correspondent Tucker Carlson was the master of ceremonies.
 
“I haven’t actually decided because we’re not positive yet whether somebody like Chuck Baldwin will be on the ballot,” Paul told CNSNews.com.  “So, I haven’t picked one and probably won’t publicly announce exactly.  But my position is, is that I haven’t been able to say that I would vote for McCain and that Bob Barr is a good candidate and he speaks for the libertarians, he’s doing a good message, and he is likely to get the most votes of any libertarian candidate.  Chuck Baldwin is a close friend of mine, and he speaks the same language, and he campaigned for me. So, I hate making public announcements to pick and choose over the two.”
 
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Paul told reporters that he would not urge his supporters to vote for any particular candidate.
 
“I strongly encouraged Bob Barr to run,” Paul said. “I think he will have more votes than any other Libertarian candidate. I’m also sympathetic with the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. I don’t foresee endorsing any single candidate.”
 
Paul said his goal is not to start a third party but rather to help change the Republican Party.
 
He knows he cannot wrest the GOP nomination from McCain, but he said he has stayed in the contest up to this point because of his supporters.
 
“This is a continuation of what started with the campaign,” Paul said. “We got so much momentum that this is more or less to satisfy the enthusiasm for the message.”
 
Paul said he has 40 to 50 elected delegates that he has not released to McCain.
 
“I have strong beliefs in limited government that we have not only strayed from as a party but as a country,” Paul said. “It isn’t just the executive branch. It isn’t just this Congress. It isn’t just the Supreme Court. There is a general erosion of respect for the Constitution.”
 
Paul also told reporters he supports the type of foreign policy that George W. Bush espoused during the 2000 presidential campaign -- “about not policing the world and no nation building. He won on that,” Paul said. He reasserted during his interview with CNSNews.com that America’s interventionist foreign policy contributed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
 
Paul said he is not allowed on the Republican convention floor without a chaperone, even though in past years, his status as a congressman allowed him full floor privileges.