Paul announces bid for presidency By John Tompkins The Facts Published January 12, 2007 http://thefacts.com/story.lasso?ewcd=9e2347000d786357 When people told Congressman Ron Paul to run for U.S. president, he said he wouldnât. When even more supporters suggested he should run for president in the wake of the November general election, he started to change his mind. âI said maybe,â Paul told The Facts in a phone call from Washington. âI went from no to maybe.â Paul, R-Lake Jackson, announced Thursday that he filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission to create an exploratory committee to run for president. âSo just recently I told (my supporters) âyes, Iâll do it,ââ Paul said. Whether he will formally run has yet to be decided, he said. The man who describes himself as a âstrict constitutionalistâ has been representing parts of Brazoria County since 1997 and was re-elected to his sixth term in November. The most recent effort to run for the presidency will be Paulâs second. He was the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988. Paulâs announcement came as a bit of a surprise to Yvonne Dewey, chairwoman of the Brazoria County Republican Party. âI know that quite a few people have approached him about running,â she said. Paulâs reputation in Congress to abide by the Constitution, even when it ruffles the feathers of fellow Republicans, might work to his advantage on the campaign trail, Dewey said. âWhat happened in the last election would not affect him,â she said. âIâm sure heâs as good as anybody thatâs announced.â If the exploratory committee, which can collect funds from donors, finds enough support from voters nationwide, Paul will run for the Republican nomination, he said. âThereâs been some people who are very strong supporters,â Paul said. âTheyâre very frustrated at a lack of choices. Thereâs a lot of people who want another choice.â The former Libertarian Party member said he is not a run-of-the-mill Republican and says quite candidly what he would do with U.S. troops in Iraq if he takes the oath as president in January 2009. âI would bring them home,â he said. âI would try to bring them out of there as smoothly as possible.â Paul voiced his opposition Thursday to the war in Iraq and spoke of a plan to increase the presence of U.S. troops, according to the text of the speech posted on his Web site. âNothing can improve in Iraq until we understand that our occupation is the primary source of the chaos and killing,â Paul said in the speech. âWe are a foreign occupying force, strongly resented by the majority of Iraqâs citizens.â He bills himself as âThe Taxpayersâ Best Friend,â and is routinely ranked either first or second in the House of Representatives by the National Taxpayers Union, a national group advocating low taxes and limited government. He describes himself as a lifelong Libertarian running as a Republican. Ken Snyder, chairman of Paulâs exploratory committee, said Paul is not running just to make a point or to try to ensure that his issues are addressed, but to win, according to The Associated Press. The campaign will test Paulâs ability to attract financial and political support before deciding whether to launch a full-fledged campaign, he said. Paul, expected to formally announce his bid in the next week or two, and his supporters are not intimidated by nationally known and better-financed candidates such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona or former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Synder said. âThis is going to be a grassroots American campaign,â he said. âFor us, itâs either going to happen at the grassroots level or itâs not.â Government spending has always been a big issue for Paul in the time he has served in the House of Representatives. Much of the nationâs spending problems would be solved if so much federal money was not spent overseas, Paul said. âIf we didnât have this war, weâd have half a trillion dollarsâ to spend here, he said. As for the illegal immigration issue, Paul said a civilian patrol approach would be more effective than fences or walls. âWe should have more border guards,â he said. âI donât think the military approach is good.â One way to combat illegal immigration would be to remove incentives for illegal immigrants to come to the United States. âNo state should be compelled to give free medical care and free education,â he said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.