Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) weighed in on the state of the American political system on Thursday, briskly dismissing the notion of endorsing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and arguing that both candidates are effectively the same with regards to economic policy.
Asked by CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis if he would throw his support behind Romney, Paul offered a quick "no" and then jumped into his critique, claiming that both Romney and President Barack Obama represented powerful interests that wanted to maintain the status quo.
"They're both within the establishment where they need the Federal Reserve and the lender of last resort to make sure that you can take all the risk in the world, but don't sweat it, because government will be there and the Fed will be there and they're going to get bailed out," Paul said. "They represent a one-party system. Somebody said 'why don't we get a third party?' and another one said, I think correctly so, 'Why don't we get a second party?'"
Paul went on to claim that the course of the next four years would play out similarly regardless of who was in the White House, because there would be little difference between their administrations.
The Texas Republican and libertarian icon has maintained a palpable distance from Romney throughout the course of the 2012 election. Earlier this year, Paul said he had rejected a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention because he had been asked to act against his principles when it came to supporting Romney.
In an interview with the New York Times, Paul said organizers told him he could speak under two conditions: that he deliver an address pre-approved by Romney's campaign, and that he give a "full-fledged" endorsement of the Republican candidate.
“It wouldn’t be my speech," Paul said. "That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president."
Paul's son, the libertarian leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has similarly expressed concerns with Romney. While he has offered a more enthusiastic endorsement of the GOP nominee, the younger Paul announced in a CNN op-ed this week that Romney's recent foreign policy address had left him "a bit dismayed."
"We owe it to ourselves, our soldiers and our children to take a more careful look at our foreign policy, to not rush into war, and to not attempt to score political points with wrongheaded policy ideas," Paul wrote.