By David Edwards and Muriel Kane
The Raw Story
During Thursday night's Republican debate, after the other candidates had been invited to exchange views on whether the Reagan conservative coalition is now a thing of the past, Fox host Carl Cameron turned to Ron Paul with a very different question.
"Many of your supporters call themselves '9/11 Truthers,'" Cameron began. "They believe that the US government was in some way complicit with the 9/11 attacks or covered it up. Are you prepared to either embrace that rhetoric or ask those supporters to abandon it or divorce themselves from your candidacy?"
"Well, I can't tell people what to do, but I've abandoned those viewpoints," Paul replied. "I don't believe that, and that's the only thing that is important. ... But I would like to take an opportunity to talk about the issue that we've been debating here for the last 20 minutes."
Rather than letting Paul join in the general discussion, however, Cameron continued to attempt to corner him on the 9/11 question, demanding, "Would you ask them to cease that rhetoric tonight on your behalf?"
"Well, it doesn't do me any good," answered Paul, "so if they care about me they should, but the only thing I have control over is what I believe and what I say. I can't tell them what to do. ... So please, could I participate in the current debate ..."
This remark was met with cheers and applause, and Paul went on to argue that the Republican Party has lost its way.
"I don't think we're fiscal conservatives any more," Paul stated. "Look at what we've done over these last 10 years. We finally got control of the government, and we became big government people. ... And then we turn around and we talk about liberty, and we've undermined the Fourth Amendment and personal liberty and personal privacy. ... We're policing the world ... at the same time our economy is suffering. ... So no wonder our coalition is breaking up. We actually have lost our way."
A full transcript of the debate is available here.
This video is from Fox's Republican Debate, broadcast January 10, 2008.