Courtesy of a Congressional Quarterly transcript posted on line by the New York Times, here are the responses to questions posed by Fox News panelists to Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, one of the candidates for the Republican party's 2008 presidential nomination.
The debate was staged in Orlando, Florida -- home of Disney World and Universal Studios, among other tourist attractions.
The first question directed toward Dr. Paul was asked by the chief political correspondent for Fox News, Carl Cameron. Brit Hume introduced him:
Carl Cameron has the second round of questions.
CAMERON: Thanks very much, Brit.
Congressman Paul, to you, on the subject of one of the core debates in the party, over social issues: gay marriage.
You've been quoted as saying, Any association that's voluntary should be permissible in a free society. And you've expressed your opposition to a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Many of your rivals on that stage disagree. Why are they wrong?
PAUL: I'm afraid I haven't been able to get most of your question. I know you brought up the subject of gay marriage, but I didn't get the point of what you're saying. I can't hear it that well.
CAMERON: Why are on those stage who support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage wrong?
PAUL: OK. Well, if you believe in federalism, it's better that we allow these things to be left to the state. My personal belief is that marriage is a religious ceremony.
PAUL: And it should be dealt with religiously. The state really shouldn't be involved. The state, both federal and state-wise, got involved mostly for health reasons 100 years or so ago.
But this should be a religious matter. All voluntary associations, whether they're economic or social, should be protected by the law. But to amend the Constitution is totally unnecessary to define something that's already in the dictionary.
We do know what marriage is about. We don't need a new definition or argue over a definition and have an amendment to the Constitution. To me, it just seems so unnecessary to do that. It's very simply that the states should be out of that business, and the states -- I mean, the states should be able to handle this. The federal government should be out of it.
There's no need for the federal government to be involved in this. You can accomplish this without waiting five or ten or 15 years. The authority can be put in the states by mere voting in the Congress.
The second question for Congressman Paul came from Wendell Goler, the Fox News White House correspondent:
GOLER: Congressman Paul, you say that insurance companies and government programs have made health care simply unafforable. You objected so strongly to Medicaid that, as a doctor, I'm told, you simply treated patients on your own, at your own expense.
Is charity the way we should provide health care for the poor right now?
And how are you going to encourage doctors to do that -- primary care doctors to do that, when their salaries have been declining for more than a decade?
PAUL: Well, we've had managed care, now, for about 35 years. It's not working, and nobody's happy with it. The doctors aren't happy. The patients aren't happy.
PAUL: Nobody seems to be happy -- except the corporations, the drug companies and the HMOs.
You take care of poor people by turning the medical care back into the system, where people have some choices.
Now, we have a mess because we have -- a lot of people are very dependent on health care. But I have the only way we can afford to take care of people now, because we're going broke, with $500 billion going to debt every single year. And we have a foreign policy that is draining us.
I say, take care of these poor people. I'm not against that. But save the money someplace. The only place available for us to save it is to change our attitude about running a world empire and bankrupting this country. We can take care of the poor people, save money and actually cut some of our deficit.
So you don't have to throw anybody out in the street, but long term you have move toward the marketplace. You cannot expect socialized medicine of the Hillary brand to work.
And you can't expect the managed care system that we have today, which promotes and benefits and rewards the corporations -- because it's the drug companies and the HMOs and even the AMA that comes to us and lobbies us for this managed care, and that's why the prices are high.
PAUL: It's only in medicine that technology has raised prices rather than lowering prices.
Chris Wallace, moderator of Fox News Sunday, also directed a question toward Ron Paul, eliciting a comment on the Republicans' bete noire, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, the all-but-certain and certainly-the-GOP's-heaven-sent-choice-for Democratic presidential nominee.
WALLACE: Congressman Paul...
WALLACE: Congressman Paul, you're against the Iraq war. So is Senator Clinton. So what are the differences between you?
PAUL: Well, there's a very big difference, and I think the American people, if we as a party realize this and understand it, 70- some percent of the people in America want the war over with. They're sick and tired of it and they want our troops to come home.
Now, Senator Clinton has nothing new to offer. She's endorsing the same policy. She said that the troops would be there for another five years, continue to build this embassy that's going to be bigger than the Vatican, continue to build 14 air bases as are going on there, these private bases going on there, and never change.
PAUL: We in this party have to realize the American people are sick and tired of big government, big government overseas, an empire we can't maintain, the bankruptcy of this country, and also the attack on our personal civil liberties. We don't have privacy left anymore, and Hillary Clinton offers no solution to that, and neither does any of the Democrats. And we are not doing a very good job either.
If we don't recognize that, we don't have a chance because we need to get back to the basics, believe in the Constitution, believe in the rule of law, and not allow our government to spend endlessly and bankrupt this country.
HUME: Congressman Paul, thank you.
Brit Hume, who moderated the panel and the debaters, asked Dr. Paul to follow up on a question about Social Security and retirement savings for Americans that was posed to another candidate:
HUME: Congressman Paul, your thoughts on these issues?
PAUL: it's a mess. And it proves that the government is not very good at central economic planning, even for retirement.
PAUL: The money was taken from the people with good intention. We should do our best to return it to those that have taken it.
But we need to allow the young people to just flat out get out of the system. Because, I tell you what...
... if you have the government managing these accounts, it's not going to work.
And the other thing that you have to consider if you're really serious about protecting people's incomes, each and every one of us, is how you're going to protect the dollar. If you don't have the dollar maintaining its value, no matter where you put the money you're not going to have any value. That's where the crisis is coming.
You're going to go up with all these cost of living increases but you'll never keep up with the cost of living because the dollar's going down, the cost of living is going up.
Our dollar today is worth 4 cents compared to the dollar of 1913, when the Federal Reserve took charge of it. And if you don't deal with the dollar there will be no retirement for anybody. We're going to have chaos.
And that is why you have to cut spending. That's why we need a new foreign policy. We need to tie it to people over here in this country, the people who are dependent, but we need to let the people get out, whether it's Social Security or medical care or education. The Constitution doesn't advise that we do any of that anyway.
PAUL: That's the only way we can solve the problem.
Carl Cameron asked this question of Senator Fred Thompson, and then asked the other candidates, including Congressman Paul, for their opinions on the same issue:
CAMERON: Senator Thompson, violence escalated again today on the Turkish-Iraq border. The terrorist group, PKK, took Turkish soldiers hostage. If as President Bush says, we are fighting terrorists in Iraq to protect our homeland, shouldn't the Turks be able to go into Iraq to protect their own?
Dr. Paul's reply:
PAUL: This is a -- this is a result of a foreign policy of interventionism. The founders advised non-interventionism. And even our president won the election in the year 2000 to have a more humble foreign policy, not to go into nation-building, and not get involved in the internal affairs of other nations.
And we won an election on that.
But here we are. We're over there and we've invaded this country and this is just another unintended consequence. The war is spreading, the war is likely to go into Iran, nobody's willing to take anything off the table.
What would it be like if somebody came in here into Mexico and did some of these things -- say, like, putting missiles in Europe? We're just looking for trouble. It's so unnecessary. And we jeopardize ourselves. And, quite frankly, we're not able to afford this.
So we don't need to go looking for trouble. We don't need another Cold War. And all we have to do is start talking to people and trading with people.
We don't need to assume that the world is going to blow up. Just think of...
PAUL: When I was drafted into the military, and I served five years in the military, the Soviets had 40,000 nuclear weapons.
And here, we're now learning about agitating and putting missiles in Europe.
PAUL: It's the Turks' business. It's not our business.
The last question addressed to Dr. Paul came from Wendell Goler, and it really gave the congressman a chance to shine: The question, intentionally or not, sparked a brief summary of the political philosophy and policy stance that has drawn so many activists to the Ron Paul campaign (or, as it is affectionately known from coast to coast, the "Ron Paul Revolution"):
GOLER: Gentlemen, I want to ask you a series of questions on no particular subject. These are simply questions I haven't had a chance to ask yet.
Congressman Paul, I want to start with you. You have drawn some of the strongest reactions of any person on the stage, both pro and con, sir. When Ronald Reagan became a Republican, he said he hadn't left the Democratic Party, the Democrats had left him.
Given your differences with the other gentlemen on the stage, has the Republican Party left you? Have these gentlemen left the Republican Party?
PAUL: I think in many ways they haven't followed our platform and they don't follow the Constitution. So they're really not following (inaudible). I think in many ways we have become big spenders. Republicans are the big spenders. Our big-government conservatives, they're part of the neo-conservative movement. They've lost their traditions about traditional conservatism and the Constitution.
We have benefited for so many years and decades by having a position of less use of force. Eisenhower won his election in 1952 by trying to clean up the mess that Democrats created in Korea. Nixon won in '68. We continuously won in taking this position of a more commonsensical foreign policy.
Like I said, even George Bush won criticizing this interventionism, and now all of a sudden, just in this short period of time, we have accepted the Democrats' position on foreign policy, on entitlements, on deficits. I mean, we have lost our way.
No, I think that the position of the Republican Party today has not fulfilled their traditions.
And that's why we lost last year. And if we don't go back to our traditions and believe in the Constitution, limited government, personal liberties, and a foreign policy that's noninterventionist, that won't bankrupt us, so that we can defend this country -- we can't even defend our own cities while we're prancing around the entire world.
Dr. Paul also appeared with Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes on a post-debate wrap-up show, and he was in excellent form for that interview, too. When Hannity tried to pooh-pooh the cell-phone/text message poll that showed debate viewers favoring Ron Paul with 38 percent of their votes, Dr. Paul explained that this was just the enthusiastic response from discerning Fox News viewers across the country.