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OPINION

Ron Paul Won't Rule Out Independent 2012 Presidential Run

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Ron Paul isn't the kind of presidential candidate who sticks to his talking points and measures every word carefully, and it's possible to read too much into offhand comments from the quirky Texas congressman.

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But when a Republican presidential candidate refuses on consecutive Sunday mornings to rule out a third-party presidential campaign, it's worth taking note. Here was Paul on CNN's "State of the Union" on Oct. 30:

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has no intention of running on a third-party ticket if he's unable to secure the Republican nomination, but didn't unequivocally rule out the option Sunday.
"I have no intention of doing it. Nobody's particularly asked me to do it. And they know what I'm doing and I have no plans whatsoever to do it," the Texas congressman said on CNN's "State of the Union."

And yesterday on "Fox News Sunday," Paul said he would "probably not" support another candidate who won the GOP nomination, and gave this answer to the third-party question:

Paul was asked whether he would be interested in a third party, independent run for president if he does not get the Republican nomination.
“I have no intention doing that. That doesn't make sense to me to even think about it, let alone plan to do that.”

If Paul really has absolutely no interest in running outside the GOP, a shorter answer would be "no." But he keeps going back to "no intention," a famously non-binding construction.

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