Following the announcement of his third presidential bid Friday on Good Morning America, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, wasted no time trumpeting the libertarian philosophy that has pushed him to the fringes of the GOP establishment—including an insistence that he would not have ordered the raid in Pakistan earlier this month that left 9/11 terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden dead.
President Obama “could have done it differently,” Paul said, echoing remarks he made earlier this week. “I endorse the whole idea of going after [bin Laden]; I supported going into Afghanistan. I thought we blew it then—we had him cornered, and we let him loose. Then we invaded Iraq and spent $1 trillion; we’ve lost 5,000 American lives; we’ve killed many, many innocent people. So the process has been very bad.”
Going forward, Paul, notorious among Republicans for his anti-war sentiment, said the administration should focus its energy on salvaging U.S.-Pakistan relations. “It looks like we’re trying to be more antagonistic against the Pakistanis, who have helped us in the past catch many terrorists,” he said. “So I’m really worried about building this animosity with the Pakistanis right now.
“I’m all for cutting foreign aid” to Pakistan, Paul continued. “I wouldn’t have ever given them any money to start with. But I’m afraid we’ve already expanded the war into Pakistan.”
Although his unique niche appeal left him far from the top tier in his 2008 White House run, Paul says his support base, energized by what he considers to be Obama’s foreign policy faux pas and irresponsible spending habits, makes it “an absolute possibility” that he could win the Republican nomination this time.