Ron Paul on why he’s still running for president.
John McCain may have clinched the Republican nomination on March 4, but for Ron Paul and his 800,000-strong army of supporters, the GOP primary isn’t over … at least not yet. Seventeen days and two primaries later, the Texas congressman is vowing to continue his campaign. In fact, he tells NEWSWEEK that his candidacy is “indefinite” and says that–unless the Arizona senator drastically alters his campaign platform–McCain can forget about a Ron Paul endorsement.
Paul, with a mere 14 (or 42, depending on who’s counting) delegates in his column, cannot possibly overtake McCain for the nomination; the GOP front runner has well over the 1,191 delegates needed to secure his party’s mantle. A March 7 speech in which Paul admitted that “victory in the conventional political sense is not available in the presidential race” led many media outlets to report his withdrawal. But what they missed was what Paul went on to say: that he does “still encourage all efforts to gain the maximum number of votes and delegates in all the remaining primaries.” Flagging pols typically run into fund-raising hurdles, but thanks to massive online fund-raising efforts, Paul still has a hefty war chest. As of the end of last month, he still had more than $5 million in the bank. In Paul’s view, he’s in second place: his campaign Web site displays a graphic of the 11 original GOP candidates, nine of whom have big red X’s drawn across their faces (“There were 11. Now there are two”, reads the caption).
Paul spoke to NEWSWEEK’s Sarah Elkins about why he keeps campaigning, his qualms about McCain and his thoughts about Ralph Nader. Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: At this point, the most obvious question is: why are you still doing it? Life on the trail is exhausting, and John McCain has already won the Republican nomination. What keeps you going out there?
Ron Paul: First off, I don’t really feel exhausted at all. There were certainly times when I was [exhausted], when there were six or eight or 10 primaries to campaign for. But right now I feel really rested because I came back to Texas and paid attention to my congressional race, which we won easily with 70 percent of the vote [Paul won the GOP nomination, and does not face a Democratic opponent this fall]. So I had time to rest and rethink things, and I feel really good about [the race]. Right now, out of 11 [original Republican presidential] candidates, I’m still out there. We have time and we’re still in the race, picking up delegates here and there, and the troops are still very enthusiastic … I think what I’ve done over the years is different from other people running for office, because most of the time people run for only one reason, which is to win a political office. They go out and they take polls and figure out what they need to say because the goal of winning comes before anything else. In my case, winning is important, but I need to win on principles that are important to me. If I win on other peoples’ principles, I lose.
h/t: Raw Story
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