Leading libertarian politician Ron Paul started out in medicine. After graduating from Duke University's medical school in 1961, Ron Paul soon went on to become a military doctor. He served with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. National Guard during the 1960s. Paul branched out into politics in the 1970s. Elected to represent Texas, he served in the House of Representatives from 1975 to 1976 and again from 1979 to 1984. Returning to the House again in 1997, Paul served eight more consecutive terms. He has run for president several times during his long political career, most recently as a candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012.
Born Ronald Ernest Paul on August 20, 1935 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, politician Ron Paul was the third out of five sons. As a child, he helped out in the family's dairy business. He continued working as a paper boy and later at a local drug store. In high school, Paul was a member of the track and wrestling teams and served as the president of the student council. Discovering love at an early age, He met his future wife Carol while in high school.
In his last year of college, Ron Paul married Carol. After he graduated in 1957, the couple moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Ron attended the Duke University School of Medicine. Finishing his degree in 1961, he and his young family then moved to Detroit, Michigan. There Paul did his internship and residency at Henry Ford Hospital. Serving his country, he was as a doctor in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then with the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.
Specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, Paul opened his own practice in Texas. During the course of his career, he is said to have delivered more than 4,000 babies. In the 1970s, Paul became active in politics, making a failed Congressional bid in 1974. But he was victorious two years later in a special election to replace Representative Robert R. Casey who had resigned. That same year, he established the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE).
Entry Into Politics
His first stint in the House of Representatives was only a matter of months. He did not retain his post in the general election later that year. On his next try in 1978, however, Paul was elected and even re-elected twice. Emerging as a strong critic of the country's banking and financial systems, he began writing about his economic theories. In 1981, his book Gold, Peace and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency was published and was quickly followed by The Case for Gold: A Minority Report of the U.S. Gold Commission (1982). He expressed his pro-life and anti-federal government views in 1983's Abortion and Liberty.
After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate against Phil Gramm in 1984, Paul was succeeded in the House of Representatives by Tom DeLay. Paul returned to his private practice, but did not stay out of politics for too long.
A career Republican, Paul jumped ship in 1988 to become the presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. In many ways, he was a good fit for the party with his interest in lowering taxes and reducing the size of the federal government. But Paul did differ with the Libertarians over the abortion issue as the party supports personal liberty and opposes laws and other restrictions on the actions or lifestyles of individuals. While he came in third, Paul received almost 500,000 votes in the general election.
In the mid-1990s, Paul returned to the Republican Party and fought Greg Laughlin—a Democrat turned Republican—for his party's nomination for a seat in the House of Representatives. The odds were against him as Laughlin had wide support from the party and from deep-pocketed organizations such as the National Rifle Association. Despite the opposing forces, Paul was able to defeat Laughlin and win the general election in 1996. He has remained a member of the House of Representatives ever since.
Over the years, Paul has maintained a steadfast consistency on executive power, taxation, and pro-life issues. Unlike many of his Republican peers, he voted against the Patriot Act and against the Iraq war. Paul did, however, support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan. He has voted against farm subsidies and regulating the Internet, which is in line with his interest in reducing government spending and the role of the federal government. In addition, he has expressed his opposition to the war on drugs, saying that the government's efforts have actually been a war on doctors. This and other controversial opinions have often caused tension with his Republican counterparts.
It is this mix of traditional conservatism and libertarianism that makes Paul such an unusual presidential candidate. Since throwing his hat into the 2008 Republican presidential nomination race, he has garnered a lot of support from diverse circles. Some like his ideas about economic policies whereas others see him as the anti-establishment candidate. While the mainstream media gives him little coverage, Paul's vision for America has been spread by his extensive presence online. The Internet has also been a financial boon to him. On November 5, 2007, a group of his supporters raised more than $4 million in one day for his campaign. The date was no accident—it was Guy Fawkes Day, a British holiday that remembers the attempted destruction of the Parliament building—with the king inside—by a rebel named Guy Fawkes. While Paul “wants to demolish things like the Department of Education,'' as one of his spokespeople told The New York Times, ''but we can do that very peacefully, in a constructive manner.''
2008 Presidential Campaign
Although didn't win the nomination, Paul came in fifth at the Iowa caucus on January 3 with approximately 10 percent of the vote, beating out the better-known candidate Rudy Giuliani. But he finished last in Wyoming's caucus two days later. At the much-watched New Hampshire primary, Paul had a fifth place finish, beating Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter. On Michigan's January 15 primary, he came in fourth ahead of Giuliani, Thompson, and Hunter.
By late January, Thompson, Giuliani, and Hunter had all dropped out, but Paul remained in the race. Even after February 5, also known as Super Tuesday because of the number of primaries, Paul stayed in despite not winning a single state. Paul saw the campaign as a way to promote important issues as much as it is a race to the White House.
In June, Paul ended his run for the Republican nomination, which later officially went to John McCain. Some thought Paul might run as an independent or on the Libertarian Party ticket, but he dismissed those ideas. Paul ended up endorsing Constitution Party's candidate Chuck Baldwin's bid for the presidency.
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