Paul, 75, in an interview before a breakfast at the Washoe County Republican Party office, formed an official exploratory committee on Tuesday in advance of GOP debates set for May.
“I personally have some reservations about what is required – the money raising; is the support there; do you sound credible; do people really want me to – and that’s why I’ve been going around the country and the reception has been pretty good,” he said.
Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party are scheduled to hold a debate May 5 in Greenville, S.C.
Paul, R-Tex., has run for president twice, first as a Libertarian candidate in 1988 and a second time as a Republican in 2008. He is one of several potential Republican candidates to visit Nevada recently, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and, on Thursday, Donald Trump.
Nevada is an early caucus state for the Republican primary, with a date set for Feb. 18, 2012. It will be the third contest nationwide and the first in the West.
Asked what sets him apart from other potential candidates, Paul said: “The rule of law. That we ought to live within the confines of the Constitution. That we shouldn’t fight wars that are undeclared. We shouldn’t print money when it’s not allowed. We shouldn’t run up deficits.
“They say we’re on the fringe, but I think people who think we should have an empire, people who print money when they need it, and deficits don’t matter, I mean we’ve finally gotten to the point where everybody says, ‘hey, maybe we’ve over done it,’ ” he said. “I would say that they are the radicals and we are the moderates who just want to get back to common sense.”
Paul said it isn’t that the issues he raises are moving to the mainstream, but that “people are starting to recognize that what we are doing really doesn’t make any sense.”
Ralph McMullen, chairman of the Washoe County Republican Party, said he was pleased to have Paul visit in part to make up for the controversy at the 2008 Nevada Republican Party state convention.
The convention ended up in disarray after Paul supporters positioned themselves to win delegates to the national convention over GOP nominee John McCain. The convention ended up being shut down, and McMullen said the bad feelings from the incident likely played a role in Sue Lowden’s performance in the Republican primary in last year’s U.S. Senate race. Lowden was the GOP chairwoman at the time.
Sharron Angle ended up winning the primary but losing to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Asked about the “birther” controversy regarding President Obama’s birthplace, Paul said he would rather talk about more important issues. The release this week of Obama’s birth document should put the matter to rest, but Paul said the controversy never focused on the real issue, which is that Obama’s mother was a U.S. citizen and so his birthplace would not have mattered.
“I do think the war and the dangerous situation with the dollar and the debt, in perspective, those are much more important issues,” he said.
Possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul says he has some reservations about running:
Paul says his candidacy is about the rule of law:
Paul says his positions are not radical:
Paul says people realize change is needed:
Paul says there are far more important issues than Obama’s birthplace: