Ron Paul Says He Won’t Support GOP Nominee

News & Politics
This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

Last month, during a Republican debate, Ron Paul was asked whether he promised to support the GOP nominee next year, no matter who emerges from the primary process. "Not right now I don't," Paul said, "not unless they're willing to end the war and bring our troops home."

Apparently, in the ensuing weeks, "not right now" has become "no."
Paul called his Republican presidential rivals, including frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, "neo-conservatives" whom he couldn't support in the general election should his own bid fail.
"They think we're supposed to spread our goodness through force," Paul said. For example, none will pledge not to wage war on Iran, he said. "How could I support something like that?"
Apparently, he can't. But it means that of the top seven candidates in the Republican field, Paul is the only one who isn't prepared to support the party's eventual nominee. It's not the kind of thing that will go over well within the party, but then again, Paul's interest in the Republican Party appears nominal -- it's a venue for him to advance his ideas and agenda, not necessarily an opportunity for him to lead the party.

It's interesting to note the contrast between Paul's comments and John Edwards'. A couple of weeks ago, Edwards hedged when asked if he would support the eventual Democratic nominee, no matter who it is. When he initially hesitated, it caused a minor stir in Democratic circles -- how can Edwards expect to be the party's nominee if he's not willing to commit to honoring the party's nominating process?

No one seems to be saying that about Paul, in large part because no one seems to consider Paul part of the Republican mainstream.

For that matter, it also once again raises the specter of an independent Paul bid.

During an MSNBC interview earlier this month, Norah O'Donnell followed up on this point:

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