|Rep. Ron Paul on Wednesday laid out his hopes for the Republican National Convention in August, conceding that he didn’t have the support to “take over the convention” but asking for a speech on the floor or at a very minimum a “meeting” on-site.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have quite enough [delegates] to take over the convention,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The Texas Republican and former presidential hopeful said that he had not asked convention organizers or Mitt Romney for a speaking slot, even as it was clear during the interview that he would like one.
“I have not asked specifically, and he hasn’t invited me to,” said Paul.
The libertarian crusader said that his goal was to prove that there are advantages to including his supporters and viewpoints in the Republican Party.
“If I’m not going to the be the nominee, the goal is to show that there’s a political benefit toward accepting some of the views that we have,” he said. “All I want to do, if I don’t get a speech on the floor in the convention, all I want to do is have a meeting and say, ‘Look, we have numbers, we have people, we have enthusiasm, we believe in something. Why don’t you pay a little attention?’ And actually I think they are. They don’t know quite how to handle it.”
Asked if the Republican Party had lost its way, Paul argued that there were — on many issues of substance — no serious distinctions between the Republican and Democratic parties.
“I think [the GOP] has lost its way. I think a long time ago. I can’t see the difference” between Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Paul argued. “They’re both very militaristic, interventionist, pro-war… do Republicans really stop welfare expansion? No. Do they really cut back and balance the budget? No, they usually introduce bigger budgets.”
“When it comes to the philosophy of government, there’s not enough difference for me,” Paul concluded. “I would like to change those convictions of the Republican Party because there were times when they had much better positions. And there’s no reason why we can’t restore those and improve upon them.”
And on Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, Paul declined to go after him personally. “I would say he has core convictions, but I just disagree with them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paul has picked a state legislator to succeed him in Congress, as he had announced that his current term would be his last.
The Texas Republican is endorsing state Rep. Randy Weber in a GOP primary runoff in his district, the Houston Chronicle reports. Weber is facing Pearland City Councilwoman Felicia Harris.
“As a small business owner, Randy understands how excessive regulation and reckless overspending by government is destroying jobs and squeezing our community,” Paul said in a statement. “Randy Weber will be a strong and consistent voice to get Washington off our backs so we in the Fourteenth District can work and grow.”
In a familiar situation for a man who was often the lone vote against legislation in the 435-member House of Representatives, Paul is the only member of Texas’s delegation backing Weber. Three other Texas Republican congressmen are picking Harris, who is considered more electable. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and two other statewide officeholders are joining Paul in backing Weber.
Paul, a three-time presidential candidate, is retiring after 24 years in the House. The 14th District includes a large portion of Texas’s Gulf Coast surrounding Galveston. The winner of the July 31 runoff will face Democratic former Rep. Nick Lampson in November.