Full name: Ronald Ernest Paul
Age/DOB: 76; Born August 20, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Home: Lake Jackson, Texas
Official Website: www.ronpaul2012.com
With his 2012 White House bid, Rep. Ron Paul is hoping the third time is the charm. The Texas Republican previously ran for president in 1988 as the Libertarian Party candidate and again in 2008, when he sought the GOP nomination. Though unsuccessful, Paul's 2008 bid galvanized a group of loyal, fiscally conservative, libertarian-minded supporters who strongly supported the outspoken lawmaker and donated millions to his campaign. Those supporters, who are especially savvy and active online, have remained dedicated to Paul and form the base of his support in the 2012 race.
Paul is a conservative -- fiscally and socially -- who also has libertarian views. He is an advocate of a limited, constitutional federal government and a champion of states' rights and the 10th Amendment. On his campaign website, he boasts of having never voted for legislation in the House unless it is explicitly authorized by the Constitution. On foreign policy, Paul often clashes with other conservatives and Republicans because he does not support aggressive approaches to U.S. foreign policy or aggressive use of U.S. military force.
Paul served in Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and he returned to Congress in 1997, where he currently represents Texas' 14th Congressional District. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In the 1960s, Paul graduated from Duke Medical School, then he joined the Air Force as a flight surgeon. In the late '60s, Paul and his wife moved to Texas, where he started an obstetrics and gynecology practice. The couple has five children and 18 grandchildren. Rand Paul, one of the couple's children, recently joined his father on Capitol Hill as the junior senator from Kentucky; father and son are both favorites of the conservative, grass-roots tea party movement. The elder Paul has said he will not seek re-election to the House in 2012 so that he can focus on his presidential bid. Ron Paul has made statements indicating that he plans to scale back his campaigning, but has not formally withdrawn yet.
Bio via CNNPolitics.com
Economy and Jobs
Paul is a longstanding critic of U.S. fiscal and monetary policy. In particular, he has criticized the Federal Reserve, which he would like to eliminate altogether. Paul recently voted against two bills increasing the U.S. debt ceiling. He also would like to return the U.S. to the gold standard, to do a thorough audit of the Fed's books and to audit all of U.S. gold holdings at Fort Knox.
Cost of College
Paul plans to axe the Dept. of Education and, ultimately, phase out the federal student loan program. He argues that the reason college is so expensive in the first place is because too many loans are available. Free money = inflated tuition costs. The long-term solution, he says, would be to focus on lowering the cost of college.
Paul wants to repeal the Democratic health care reform bill and he voted to that effect in January 2011. He also favors allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and expanding access to health savings accounts.
Paul doesn't believe the federal government should have a say in who gets hitched. Leave that to each state to decide, he says. As far as Don't Ask Don't Tell goes, he voted to repeal it. Quote of note: "I don't think of people as ‘gay' here and ‘black people' there, or ‘women' over here ... Everybody is an individual person and everybody has the same rights as anyone else."
The former practicing OB/GYN — a fan of abstinence-only education — has delivered thousands of babies in his lifetime. This experience, he says, solidified his firm anti-abortion stance. Though Paul doesn't condemn Plan B or birth control, he doesn't believe the government should be paying for it. He has a track record for supporting abstinence-only education.
His views on immigration are that he opposes requiring businesses to verify employees' immigration status and opposes amnesty for undocumented immigrants already in the country. Paul also said he doesn't believe in giving entitlements to undocumented immigrants or mandating that states do so. He also favors increased border security. And in December 2010, he voted against the DREAM Act, which would have provided certain students who arrived in the country illegally an opportunity for permanent residency if they went to college or served in the military.
For years, Paul has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and, more generally, he is a critic of an expansionist approach to foreign policy. Recently, Paul voted in favor of a trio of proposals intended to put limits on U.S. involvement in Libya.
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