- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 6, 2011

If he were president, Ron Paul says he would pull American troops out of the Middle East and bring them home because he doesn´t want to step on the toes of countries such as Pakistan.

“Our national security is better off by a different foreign policy,” Mr. Paul, a Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate, told “Fox News Sunday.”

“I don’t want troops around the world, because I think it hurts the national defense,” he added. “By having too many troops around the world, it bankrupts our country.”

He went on to say that America should “offer friendship” to Iran rather than stopping them from building a nuclear weapon.

“For them to be a threat to us or to anybody in the region, I think it’s just blown out of proportion,” he said.

“The worst thing could be an overreaction and we go to war over this,” he said, adding a war would “undermine our security.”

He believes that war inevitably means innocent people will die, and when that happens, America creates more enemies that “hate our guts.”

“Sometimes you miss,” he said, adding, “For everyone you kill, you probably create 10 new people who hate our guys and would like to do us harm.”

Mr. Paul, who just won an Illinois Republican straw poll with 52 percent of the vote, also said he would push for “real spending cuts” - “not like the others tinkering on the edges” - and not raise taxes.

In his “Plan to Restore America,” Mr. Paul says he would reduce government spending to 15.5 percent of GDP by 2016 versus about 25 percent now.

He also calls for cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent. That´s a big drop from the current 35 percent.

“It´s not like we take it away; we let the people spend the money,” he said. “When the government spends the money - that´s all wasteful spending.”

His plan would eliminate five presidential Cabinet departments - Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. He also would abolish the Transportation Security Administration. These cuts would lead to a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce.

“The politicians and bureaucrats aren´t smart enough to know what you should be investing in,” he added.

Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah governor and GOP presidential hopeful, also made the talk show rounds Sunday, speaking on NBC´s “Meet the Press.”

Mr. Huntsman also indicated his plan for spending cuts.

“We´ve wasted a whole lot of money in this country,” he said. “The will of the people is such that we won´t do that again.”

He said his experience as U.S. ambassador to China gives him the real-world experience that the country needs.

“You’ve got to have a commander in chief who understands the world we live in,” he said, adding that he would give the country a “head start” with China.

He also said he is the candidate who can win over the moderates, a vote Republicans will need to beat President Obama.

“You can´t be on an extreme end of politics and expect to win over the independents,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Huntsman said he is a good enough Republican to get the GOP nomination, pointing to his record on pro-life, the Second Amendment and health care reform without a mandate

“You´d be hard pressed when you look at my record not to say, ‘that´s a good Republican record,´” he said.

Mr. Huntsman is turning his campaigning attention to New Hampshire.

“New Hampshire is it,” he said. “We´re putting everything into New Hampshire.”

Both Mr. Huntsman and Mr. Paul weighed in on accusations of sexual harassment against fellow hopeful Herman Cain. They agreed it would be better for the Republican field to move on and focus on policy issues.

Mr. Huntsman called Mr. Cain a “decent, decent man and a good candidate.”

Mr. Paul said it would be better for the Republican field to move on and focus on policy issues.

“I think that´s what we should be talking about,” he said, “and I don´t like all these distractions.”

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