Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, defended his past criticism of 1964 civil rights legislation on Sunday, saying that civil rights laws “destroyed the principle of private property.”
Paul said Americans are better off without the racial segregation the civil rights legislation dismantled, but that “we could have done it a better way.”
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Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Paul was asked about a 2004 statement he inserted in the Congressional Record. “Contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, [the bill] increased racial tension while decreasing individual liberty,” Paul said in the statement.
A Des Moines Register poll of 602 likely Republican caucus-goers released on Saturday showed Paul in second place behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney heading into Tuesday's Iowa caucuses. In the final two days of the survey, however, Paul fell to third behind former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. The poll had margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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Paul dismissed the possible drop and expressed confidence, saying he is, “essentially tied for first place.”
“I may come in first; I may come in second.” he said. “I doubt if I’ll come in third.”
“I would say the people are with me on this and the momentum is going to continue regardless of exactly what happens,” he said.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, appearing after Paul on the same show, called Paul’s foreign policy views “frightening.” King has not endorsed a candidate in Iowa.
Paul pushed back on such views and charges by his opponents that he has said he would not be concerned if Iran obtained nuclear weapons, saying many criticisms are based on distortions of his views.
“I don’t want them to have a weapon,” Paul said. He said his argument is a nuclear Iran “would not be an existential threat” to the United States and Israel.
“We just need to be more cautious,” he said.
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Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Paul was asked about a section of his book, Freedom Under Siege, in which he wrote that an individual with AIDS “victimizes” others by requiring them to pay for their care. Paul stood behind his original statements, arguing that insurance companies should decide rates for high-risk activities, just as they do with smokers.
“Because a fault comes to people because of their personal behavior—in a free society people do dumb things—it isn’t to be placed as a burden on other people, innocent people. Why should they have to pay for the consequences?” he asked.
Paul similarly defended his writings on sexual harassment. In his book, Paul wrote that those being harassed should accept some responsibility for their behavior. “Because people are insulted by rude behavior, I don’t think we should make a federal case out of it. I don’t think we need federal laws to deal with that. People should deal with that at home,” he said.
Paul also denied that his campaign offered Kent Sorenson, former Iowa co-chair for Michele Bachmann’s campaign, money to work for his campaign, although he did not elaborate further on the issue.