Ron Paul is, to engage in understatement, unusual, and often in a good way. How many politicians, for example, will actively defend their adversary in a campaign right before a critical vote? Yet that’s what Ron Paul did, defending Mitt Romney, his main competition for the GOP presidential nomination, after Romney had blooped a line that will undoubtedly haunt him for a long time. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” Romney had said. “You know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say ‘You know, I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.” It was predictable that the line would be truncated and taken out of context, and it was…by the press, by Jon Huntsman, by Rick Perry. It will surely be used against Romney by President Obama, who has adopted the position that people should be able to hold on to jobs whether they do them well or not— Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, for example. But Paul would have none of it, saying,
“I think this is just typical politics and they’re unfairly attacking him on that issue,” Paul said outside a polling place at Webster School in Manchester. “He never literally said what they say he said. They’re taking him way out of context.”
Paul also defended Romney’s history as CEO at Bain Capital, the subject of a new attack video by Newt Gingrich, as an example of the free market working properly. “You save companies, you save jobs when you reorganize companies that are going to go bankrupt,” Paul said. “They [the critics] don’t understand.”
The last time a political candidate came to the defense of an opponent was when Sen. Jim Webb, then challenging incumbent George Allen, intervened to stop press criticism of reports that Allen had used racial slurs as a college student, saying that he too had used inappropriate language in college, and that intemperate conduct at that age should be irrelevant in a political contest. That was typical of Webb, a man of impeccable character, and Paul’s defense of Romney is also typical. He doesn’t want to win with tricks, lies and deceits; he wants to win on the strength of his ideas and beliefs. Many politicians claim to be like that, but Ron Paul really is like that.