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Paul has no plans for third-party bid

By Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 12:25 PM EST, Sun November 6, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "I don't want to do it," the Texas Republican says of an independent campaign
  • Paul calls for friendlier overtures with Iran
  • He advocates sharp reductions in the size and scope of government

Washington (CNN) -- Texas Rep. Ron Paul issued a trademark blunt response Sunday when asked if he might launch a third-party presidential bid in the event he fails to win the Republican presidential nomination.

"I have no intention (of) doing that. That doesn't make sense to me to even think about it, let alone plan to do that," Paul said on "Fox News Sunday."

When prodded further, Paul added it won't happen "because I don't want to do it."

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Some Republicans worry an independent bid by Paul would split the conservative vote to ensure the re-election next year of Democratic President Barack Obama.

Paul, who is making his second run for the GOP nomination, has held a steady middle position in the polls so far, below the top-tier candidates but generally getting double-digit support to top the rest of the pack.

He advocates sharply reducing the size and role of government, including the end of a U.S. military presence in many places around the world.

Asked Sunday about U.S. policy on Iran in light of reports that Tehran continues striving to build a nuclear weapon, Paul called for a diplomatic approach rather than any kind of harsh or militaristic response.

Instead of sanctions or backing an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, Paul said, the United States should change its approach to the Iranian government by "maybe offering friendship to them."

"I mean, didn't we talk to the Soviets, didn't we talk to the Chinese?" he asked of U.S. relations with nuclear-armed superpowers.

The former Soviet Union had much greater nuclear capabilities than the Iranians, who "can't make enough gasoline for themselves," Paul noted.

"For them to be a threat to us or to anybody in the region, I think, is just blown out of proportion," he added. "People are anxious to use violence against the Iranians. I think it would undermine our security. I think it would be very destructive to Israel, because this is going to blow that place up."

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