By Juana Summers
April 15th 2011
MANCHESTER, N.H. — While many of his House colleagues headed back to their districts Friday for a two-week recess, Ron Paul flew north to New Hampshire, where he received a warm embrace for his “no” vote on Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan.
“We had two big bills, the CR and the budget,” Paul told a packed house at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics Friday evening. “As a bit of information, I did not vote for the CR, and I did not vote for the budget. I did not vote for the budget because I don’t think it will do anything.”
The audience cheered for Paul, one of only four Republicans to vote against the fiscal 2012 budget, who gave a wide-ranging speech that called for a return to liberty and slammed Obama’s lack of foreign policy leadership.
The Texas congressman, who recently created a “testing the waters” account that allows him to start raising money toward a White House bid, slammed Obama’s foreign policy positions, saying presidents are becoming more and more arrogant.
“We’ve already spent a billion dollars in the last couple weeks just in Libya and we don’t have any money,” Paul said. Hearkening back to Obama’s Libya speech, where he said U.S. military action in Libya has been “in our national interest,” Paul suggested a different approach, saying if Obama has interests in Libya, he should go there and protect them himself.
Paul also assailed his fellow members of Congress, saying some of them had lost sight of what the Constitution means.
“Everybody goes to Congress, everybody takes the same oath,” Paul said. “It seems like nobody knows what they’re doing.”
Paul has been to three of the four early primary and caucus states in recent months. While his presidential flirtations have garnered less media attention than many of his likely rivals, his fundraising operation has chugged along. Paul raised roughly $3 million last quarter through his myriad political groups, well ahead of many other GOP presidential hopefuls.
Despite recently edging toward a White House run, Paul made no mention of the 2012 election in his speech Friday evening and sidestepped a questioner who outright asked if he planned to run for the Republican nomination.
Speaking with reporters immediately following his speech, Paul said he plans to announce a decision soon.
“I know I can’t forever be undecided,” he said. “I think within a month. The reception has been good and maybe in a month I can make a decision.”
Employing a familiar adage in his speech, Paul compared American spending to a drug addiction, saying the U.S. has been “addicted” to too much spending and too much borrowing.
“We’ve been addicted to living beyond our means. Eventually, we’re called to task and we have to live within our means and that’s what we’re witnessing today,” Paul said.