Texas Rep. Ron Paul is ruling out the possibility of an independent bid for the White House.
"I have no intention doing that. That doesn't make sense to me to even think about it, let alone plan to do that," Paul told Fox News on Sunday.
Paul said that if he's not the GOP nominee, he's not certain that he would support the GOP nominee unless he “sat down and spoke with the nominee and they shared common goals for America”.
Paul said his proposal for getting the economy back on track would be to cut $1 trillion in the first year of his administration, and balance the budget in three years so that spending would be 15.5 percent of the gross domestic product.
But that would put government's ratio of GDP at its lowest level since 1951, and think tanks like the conservative American Enterprise Institute argue those kinds of dramatic short-term cuts would send the country back into a recession.
Paul said that was the argument made after World War II, when the budget dropped by 60 percent and taxes by 30 percent while 10 million people returned from war.
Among the cuts Paul is pursuing is to reduce the National Institutes of Health budget by 22 percent, reduce funding for the Centers for Disease Control by 38 percent.
Paul said those are two examples of functions that government is not properly authorized to conduct and get caught up in special interests and lobbying.
Some Republicans are worried an independent bid by Paul would split the conservative vote to basically ensure the re-election next year of Democratic President Barack Obama.
Paul, who is making his second run for the GOP nomination, has held a steady middle position in the polls so far, below the top-tier candidates but generally getting double-digit support to top the rest of the pack.
He advocates sharply reducing the size and role of government, including the end of a U.S. military presence in many places around the world.
Asked Sunday about U.S. policy on Iran in light of reports that Tehran continues striving to build a nuclear weapon, Paul called for a diplomatic approach rather than any kind of harsh or militaristic response.
Instead of sanctions or backing an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, Paul said, the United States should change its approach to the Iranian government by "maybe offering friendship to them."
In the most recent ABC News/Washington Post, Rasmussen Reports, and Quinnipiac polls, Paul remains in single digits behind Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry among those likely to vote in the Republican primaries or caucuses. And like Michele Bachmann, he’s dropped several percentage points since October, according to the latest poll.
But Paul continues to do well in the straw polls because of the way they’re designed and because it’s easier for his enthusiastic and very loyal supporters to take part.
At the Values Voter Summit last month, young Paul supporters showed up by the busload to vote for him in that straw poll. The result? He won 37 percent of the vote.
In Illinois over the weekend, Paul’s 52 percent win over his GOP rivals comes with interesting caveats.
Voters in the straw poll (who had to contribute $5 to the Illinois Republican Party for the privilege) could participate either in person or online.