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Ron Paul's faves: Grover Cleveland, 'freedom movement,' not the Fed

During a recent wide-ranging session with reporters, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul revealed what sets him apart from his competitors – and why he is a fan of President Grover Cleveland.

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Rep. Ron Paul speaks at a Monitor-hosted breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21.

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor

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GOP presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul is making his third run for the White House. Trained as a doctor, the Texas Republican was the Libertarian Party's candidate for president in 1988 and ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. He was the guest speaker at the Sept. 21 Monitor breakfast in Washington.

What drives him:

"Politics doesn't drive me as much as economic policy.... What also drives me is my desire to defend the principle of personal liberty ... because it applies to everybody and every individual. I see it as an individual matter and not a group matter."

His campaign's increased visibility and fundraising prowess:

"The success of this message and the freedom movement is way beyond my expectations. Who would have ever dreamed that after 100 years we'd be talking about the Federal Reserve at debates? I mean this is fantastic from my viewpoint."

How his message differs from those of other candidates:

"They are not talking about free-market economics.... They're not talking about how the middle class gets wiped out. They're not talking about a foreign policy that would defend this country and not pretend we can police the world forever."

Whether the Republican presidential field is complete:

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"It is very likely that it is still in flux and that leaders today might not be the leaders next week or next month.... So I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see other people come in."

His response to the letter that GOP congressional leaders sent Sept. 20 to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asking him to refrain from stimulating the economy further:

"It is too little, too late. It should have been sent about 30 years ago or 40 years ago.... They [the Fed] are doing too much. They should be restrained. But right now to suggest that they not stimulate, I mean their current policy is stimulating."

The president he most admires:

"I like Grover Cleveland.... He endorsed the foreign policy of nonintervention; he was a gold-standard person. He loved the veto.... One person that I admired – he didn't become president. He was part of the Old Right. That was Robert Taft [former conservative Republican senator from Ohio]."

How the US should respond to the debt crisis in Greece and its ramifications elsewhere in Europe:

"Greece should declare bankruptcy, and we should not bail them out. You can't keep bailing these countries out.... If I had any advice for Greece, I would say, go on your own. Don't be so dependent on the euro and the European Union.... The United States should stay out of it. They should not put a greater burden on the American people because the only way we can help [Greece] is by inflating our currency, further leading to destruction of the middle class."

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