WASHINGTON (AFP) - Ron Paul, a US congressman from Texas, announced Friday a new run for the Republican presidential nomination for 2012, saying Americans are now ready for his libertarian ideas.
It will be the third attempt for Paul, who ran as a Republican in 2008 but failed to win any primaries, and was the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988.
"Time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I've been saying for 30 years. So, I think the time is right," Paul told the ABC program "Good Morning America."
Paul, 75, has long espoused a philosophy calling for less government, reduced taxes and decriminalizing prostitution and drugs.
"I think that's how a free society works," he told ABC from the state of New Hampshire, where he is expected to hold his first post-announcement campaign event for 2012.
In 2008 the former obstetrician rallied thousands of Americans around his minimalist message, which included pressing Washington to quit the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, a return to a non-interventionist foreign policy and eliminating the Internal Revenue Service.
Paul's "live-and-let-live" ideas have proven popular with followers, but his aversion to federal relief programs such as financial assistance for flood victims has raised hackles in some quarters, especially as Americans grapple with the aftermath of last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill and deadly tornadoes that ripped across the south in late April, and contend with historic flooding of the Mississippi River.
"I'm on the Gulf Coast. I have a house on the beach, or had one recently. And I don't think somebody in New York or New Hampshire or Iowa have to pay for my flood on the Gulf Coast.
"And if the insurance won't sell it to you, it means it's too dangerous. If it's too dangerous, why dump the responsibility on the taxpayer? It doesn't make good moral sense or constitutional sense."
According to his website, Paul "has never voted to raise taxes" and "has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership."
He also voted against the Patriot Act and the Iraq war and does not participate in "the lucrative congressional pension program."
For years he has called for pulling US troops out of Afghanistan, calling American involvement there a costly and "fruitless venture."
The conservative lawmaker is considered by some an inspiration for the Tea Party movement, having endorsed the notion of lower taxes and less government years earlier.
In Congress, he has been a frequent critic of the Federal Reserve and advocated a return to a gold standard.
Paul said in a separate interview with Iowa's WHO radio that he did not support the methods in the US raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
"I don't think it was necessary, no," he said, saying there should have been "respect for the rule of law, international law.
"What if he had been in a hotel in London? If we wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the helicopters into London, because they were afraid the information would get out?"
Paul told ABC: "I have no qualms about getting him. I'm delighted he's gone. But the whole thing is, we could have done it differently."
The announcement comes two days after former House speaker Newt Gingrich became the first major Republican candidate to formally throw his hat into the ring for the 2012 race, aiming to oust President Barack Obama.
Paul was a flight surgeon in the US Air Force during the 1960s and later practiced medicine in Texas. He and his wife Carol have five children including son Rand Paul, elected last year as a US senator from Kentucky.
© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license