Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (born August 20, 1935) is a Republican United States Congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, a physician, and a 2008 U.S. presidential candidate.
Originally from the Pittsburgh suburb of Green Tree, Pennsylvania, he has represented Texas districts in the U.S. House of Representatives (1976–1977, 1979–1985, and 1997–present). Paul placed a distant third in the 1988 presidential election, running as the Libertarian nominee while remaining a registered Republican. After his 1961 graduation from Duke University School of Medicine and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, he became a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, serving outside the Vietnam War zone.
Paul has been described as conservative, Constitutionalist, and libertarian. He advocates a non-interventionist foreign policy, having voted against actions such as the Iraq War Resolution, but in favor of force against terrorists in Afghanistan. He is against partisan politics and favors withdrawal from NATO and the United Nations, instead supporting the idea of strong national sovereignty citing the dangers of "foreign entanglements" as expressed in the wishes of George Washington's Farewell Address. Having pledged never to raise taxes, he has long advocated ending the federal income tax and reducing government spending by abolishing most federal agencies; he favors hard money and opposes the Federal Reserve. He also opposes the Patriot Act, the federal War on Drugs, and gun control. Paul is pro-life, but opposes a Federal ban on abortion, advocating overturning Roe v. Wade to let states determine the legality of abortion.
Throughout his 2008 presidential campaign, Paul has been a leading candidate in Republican straw polls, though he has had substantially lower numbers in landline opinion polls. He has strong Internet support, leading in web searches and YouTube subscriptions. On December 16, 2007, Paul had the largest one-day fundraiser in U.S. political history, raising over $6 million in 24 hours through a grassroots effort, organized independently from the official campaign.