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Ron Paul: an absolute faith in free markets and less government

The 10-term congressman from Texas has been a strict constitutionalist since he came into public life some 30 years ago.

Focus on freedom: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has long been studying economics and world markets.

karin cooper/face the nation

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Ron Paul still looks surprised when his calls to follow the Constitution and restore a sound currency set off whoops of approval at a campaign stop.

The 10-term GOP congressman from Texas has been making these points for 30 years, with little to show for it beyond hundreds of House votes on the short end of 434 to 1. Critics called him a crank.

But lately, his views and values – the product of a lifetime of intense, self-directed study – are finding an audience. His message is basic: freedom and limited government. Repeal the welfare-warfare state. Get out of Iraq, now. Abolish the income tax. End the war on drugs. Put the dollar back on a more solid footing.

"Unlike some others, I wasn't really anxious to run for president," he tells supporters at Tea Bird's Café and Bistro in Berlin, N.H. "I didn't believe the country was ready for a strict constitutionalist."

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