Tampa — Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) attacked neoconservative influence in Washington and defended his foreign policy in a packed rally on the eve of the Republican National Convention.
Paul is the sole candidate remaining from the primaries who has yet to endorse Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who is set to receive the nomination this week in Tampa, Fla.
Paul told the crowd, packed to capacity in the Sun Dome, the University of South Florida stadium, that Republican leaders have told him that his monetary policies – which center on removing federal financial controls – are popular, but that he should change his foreign policy views in order to mainstream.
Paul, 76, swore that he would not.
“If I didn’t have the same policy that I do have, I don’t believe we would be here tonight,” he said to loud cheers.
He blamed “powerful special interests behind a foreign policy of intervention and the military industrial complex” for recent wars and said “neocons” are “all over the place, and they’re not in one place, they’re in all of the parties.”
Paul has been a tough critic of Israel and opposes assistance to the country and foreign assistance in general.
In his speech, Paul said a failure to take into account “blowback” from U.S. policies abroad had made Americans less secure, and said that if his views had prevailed, terrorists would not have attacked the united States on Sept. 11 2001.
The RNC refused to allow him a speaking spot at the convention, although it will present a video tribute.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul’s son, who was also at the rally and who shares his foreign policy outlook, will address the convention on Wednesday.
The convention has been shortened from four days to three because of the likelihood that winds from Tropical Storm Isaac will hit the area Monday evening.
Jewish events throughout the convention have been unaffected.