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Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Presidential candidate Ron Paul said he has raised more than $9 million in the past two months and he predicted his campaign will exceed its $12 million fourth-quarter goal.
``It looks like we can't stay under it,'' Paul, a long-shot candidate for the Republican nomination, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television's ``Political Capital with Al Hunt,'' scheduled to air today. Paul said organizers expect a Dec. 16 fundraising blitz to bring in more than the $4.2 million a similar event raised on Nov. 5, an ``astounding'' amount.
Paul said he has begun ``spending generously'' in key early- primary states. He is competing in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, and said he expects to have money to campaign through Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, when at least 22 states may hold primaries and decide the nomination.
Paul called his Republican presidential rivals, including frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, ``neo-conservatives'' whom he couldn't support in the general election should his own bid fail.
``They think we're supposed to spread our goodness through force,'' Paul said. For example, none will pledge not to wage war on Iran, he said. ``How could I support something like that?''
Terrorists `Just Hoodlums'
The greatest threat to the nation, Paul said, is an overextension of the U.S. military and ``involvement in places we shouldn't be.'' Terrorism shouldn't be fought by waging war on nations, he said. Terrorists are ``just hoodlums and convicts, so to speak, but we incite them with our foreign policy,'' he said.
With his campaign rallies drawing fiscal conservatives, civil libertarians, anti-war activists and Green Party members, Paul said the time is right for a third-party candidate. He said that, while his supporters are representative of the nation's voters, he has ``no intention'' of being a third-party candidate.
A fierce critic of federal spending, Paul said that even as president he probably couldn't do away with entitlement programs such as Medicare. He would build political support to cut spending in Iraq, he said. ``I would save billions of dollars overseas,'' he said. ``We're taxed to bomb bridges in Iraq, we're taxed to build bridges in Iraq, and we don't have money for our bridges and our levees here at home.''
On abortion, Paul, a retired obstetrician who says he's personally pro-life, favors leaving policy decisions to the states. ``Our Constitution doesn't allow us to deal with this at the federal level,'' Paul said. As a congressman, he has sponsored legislation to define life as beginning at conception.
Paul, 72, is a small-government libertarian who inhabits what he calls the ``old right'' wing of the Republican Party. He disdains taxes and regulation, wants to abolish paper dollars and return to the gold standard, and he backs big cuts in federal spending.
Calling the U.S. a ``world empire,'' Paul preaches against entangling foreign alliances such as nation-building and peacekeeping. He has called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and opposed the Patriot Act.
He wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, which he calls a ``secretive bank'' that is ``creating money out of thin air.'' He wants to scrap mercantilism for pure free trade.
Paul's message has attracted free-market advocates and civil libertarians who transcend generational, geographic and even political boundaries. He is endorsed by Barry Goldwater Jr., son of the former senator and one-time presidential candidate. On Nov. 20, GQ Magazine named Paul its ``Dark Horse of the Year.''
His campaign donors come from every state. Paul has raised money far in excess of his standing in the polls. He brought in $5.2 million in the third quarter and had more cash on hand than Republican rival John McCain, an Arizona senator.
Paul, a 10-term congressman from Texas, first ran for president in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket. He won 0.5 percent of the vote that year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lorraine Woellert in Washington at email@example.com .
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Paul Expects to Raise More Than $12 Million in Fourth Quarter
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