To the chagrin of those small-l and big-L libertarians who hold out hope that Dr. Ron Paul might bolt the Republican Party and run for president as an independent (or third-party) candidate next year, here is the definitive answer, from "Dr. No" himself during Wednesday's CNN/YouTube debate:
COOPER: Let's go to the next question -- it's for Ron Paul.Ron Paul looked terrific while answering that question: composed, happy, and confident. He showed presidential bearing as well as the light touch inherent in someone asked a softball question toward the end of a grueling debate under the klieg lights.
MARK STRAUSS: Mark Strauss, Davenport, Iowa.
This question is for Ron Paul.
Mr. Paul, I think we both know that the Republican party is never going to give you the nomination. But I'm hoping that you're crazy like a fox like that and you're using this exposure to propel yourself into an independent run.
My question is for Ron Paul: Mr. Paul, are you going to let America down by not running as an independent?
PAUL: Now that's what I call a tough question, because I have no intention of doing this.
I am a Republican. I have won 10 times as a Republican and we're doing quite well. We had 5,000 people show up at a rally in front of the Independence Hall with blacks and Hispanics and a cross-section of this country.
You know that we raised $4.3 million in one day?
Without spending one cent. We didn't even pay an individual to go out and they weren't professional fund-raisers. It came in here -- it was automatic.
We're struggling to figure out how to spend the money. This is country is in a revolution. They're sick and tired of what they're getting. And I happen to be lucky enough to be part of it.
COOPER: I'll take that as a no.