Republican candidates - Ron Paul

As the first votes of the primary season approach, the BBC looks at the Republican candidates hoping to stand against President Barack Obama in November.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

The Texas congressman has won a devoted following among libertarian-minded Republicans with his calls for a return to the gold standard, the abolition of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service, and his staunch opposition - unusual in the Republican Party - to American militarism and the war on drugs.

Dr Paul, a 76-year-old former obstetrician, ran for president in 1988 and 2008. In the latter campaign, his supporters gained a reputation for their enthusiasm and for their practice of disrupting rival candidates' rallies and press conferences.

Though his supporters are devoted, Dr Paul's detractors say he is too eccentric and his ideas too fringe for him to contend seriously for the Republican nomination.

Dr Paul has raised sufficient money to remain competitive, but he has also remained solidly in the middle of the pack in the polls, neither rising to confront Mitt Romney nor falling to irrelevance.

See a full profile of Ron Paul.

Ron Paul's political base
Story of the polls
The Republican candidates are all vying for the votes of members of the Republican party in the upcoming state primaries and caucuses. Follow the changes in their political fortunes with the poll tracker, which measures opinion poll support for each candidate.

Find out more about all those running for the Republican presidential nomination on our candidates' pages.
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Select a candidate on the left to see poll figures.
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On the issues
's stance on the issues
See where other candidates stand

Economy

Would reduce the corporate income tax rate, cut "non-security discretionary spending" by 5% and "tear down the vast edifice of regulations the Obama Administration has imposed on the economy"

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul, even though it is conceptually similar to a plan he supported in Massachusetts; would encourage individuals to purchase their own health insurance rather than rely on their employers

Immigration

Would make English the official language of the US and "turn off the magnets like tuition breaks or other breaks that draw people into this country illegally"

National security

"It's worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails, if after all the work we've done there's nothing else we can do besides take military action then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon"

Economy

Would cap federal spending at 18% of GDP, which the campaign says is the average since 1960, and replace the complicated income tax code with a 20% flat rate

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul

Immigration

Has been criticised for his support in Texas for offering children of illegal immigrants the same low university tuition rates as native-born Texans; has suggested using Predator Drones to patrol the US-Mexico border; says a fence along the entire border "does not make sense"

National security

Would deploy thousands of soldiers to the US border with Mexico

Economy

"9-9-9" plan calls for a flat 9% individual income tax, a 9% corporate income tax, and a 9% national sales tax

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul

Immigration

"We should secure the border for real, and it would be a combination of a fence, technology, as well as possibly boots on the ground for some of the more dangerous areas"

National security

"The first thing that I would do is to assist the opposition movement in Iran, that's trying to overthrow the regime"; Would deploy warships to the Persian Gulf

Economy

Would reduce corporate income tax rates; opposes increases in the US debt limit

Healthcare

Would replace Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul with a system of individual health insurance plans

Immigration

Calls for a fence along the entire US-Mexico border and will "enforce" English as the official language of the US government

National security

"We have a President who devalues the special relationship with our most trusted ally, Britain, even as he bows to kings, bends to dictators, bumbles with reset buttons, and babies radical Islamists"

Economy

Would veto any "unbalanced" budget; refuse to raise the US borrowing limit; and eliminate the income, capital gains, and estate taxes, and cut $1tr from the annual federal budget

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul; "the answer to it is turn it back over to the patient and the doctor relationship with medical savings accounts"

Immigration

Would "abolish the welfare state" to discourage illegal immigration and end automatic citizenship for everyone born in the US

National security

Openly questions his rivals' aggressive talk on Iran and calls concerns about Iran's nuclear programme "propaganda" aimed at building support for another US war

Economy

Would eliminate the current system of income tax deductions and credits and lower individual and corporate tax rates; would eliminate capital gains taxes

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul, then consult with governers on a replacement, and says "we need to do a better job in harmonizing medical records"

Immigration

Has said it would be unrealistic to deport all 12m estimated illegal aliens in the US

National security

Questions the "ill-advised counterinsurgency campaign" in Afghanistan; calls for a "sober-minded" assessment of US commitments abroad

Economy

Would make permanent Bush-era individual income tax cuts; eliminate the capital gains tax; reduce the corporate income tax rate; and establish an "optional" 15% flat income tax

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul and offer in its place tax benefits to encourage the purchase of private health insurance

Immigration

Would make English the official language of the US and favours "100% control" of the US-Mexico border

National security

Calls for "maximum covert operations" to disrupt the Iranian nuclear programme

Economy

Calls for a 0% tax on the manufacturing industry and on repatriated corporate profits earned overseas

Healthcare

Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul and has said: "I was always for having the government out of the health care business and for a bottom-up, consumer-driven healthcare"

Immigration

Would penalise employers who hire illegal immigrants

National security

"We should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes"

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