EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 17, 2011

Tea Party 'godfather' Ron Paul swings through region

Texas Republican and presidential hopeful Ron Paul wrapped a two-day swing through New Hampshire yesterday with stops in Derry, Windham and Salem, N.H.

At the Nesmith Library in Windham, the man dubbed the "godfather of the Tea Party" by Fox News delivered a speech to about 50 people eager to hear his libertarian message.

Paul trumpeted the need for smaller government and the restoration of personal freedoms provided under the U.S. Constitution. The veteran congressman also outlined his ideas for reforming the nation's monetary system and his desire to scale back American military involvement across the globe.

"We have lost confidence in what free society is all about," said Paul, 75. "The very good news is that a lot of people are waking up."

Paul was greeted with a round of applause yesterday when he told audience members he will vote against a Congressional plan to raise the national debt ceiling.

Paul likened government spending to a drug, one he said politicians are addicted to. Pointing to his arm, he compared raising the debt limit to an addict getting another fix. In the case of a higher debt ceiling, Paul said it will provide short term relief only by allowing spending to continue.

Paul spoke at length and in detail about America's economic policies, showing no hesitation as he delved deeply into topics including the debt, interest rates and the role of the Federal Reserve.

Another target was the military. Paul said U.S. armed forces have built a "fortress" of an embassy in Baghdad that's larger than the Vatican. "We don't need that," he said, adding that America must consider scaling back its military presence in countries like Germany, Japan and Korea.

"We've been in Korea since I was in high school," said Paul. "It's time to come home. The world would be better off for it, because we can't afford it."

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