Dubbed the "intellectual godfather of the tea party," Ron Paul is an outspoken critic of American foreign monetary policy known for his Libertarian views and passionate network of supporters.
After White House runs in 1998 and 2008, Paul announced May 13 that he would campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
He was born on Aug. 20, 1935, in Pittsburgh, the son of Howard Caspar and Margaret Paul.
Paul graduated from Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine before serving as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s. He and his wife, Carol, married in 1957 and moved to Texas in 1968, where he began his medical practice.
As a specialist in obstetrics/gynecology, Paul has delivered more than 4,000 babies. He and Carol, who reside in Lake Jackson, Texas, have five children and 18 grandchildren.
Paul first ran for office in 1974, losing the 22nd Congressional District race to incumbent Robert R. Casey, although Paul later won the post in a special election after Casey was appointed to the Federal Maritime Commission. He lost in the general election later that year,but won a 1978 rematch, and was reelected during 1980 and 1982.
Paul returned to Congress in 1997 to represent the 14th Congressional district of Texas, although he announced earlier in 2011 he would not seek reelection in 2012 so he could focus on his presidential campaign.
He first ran for president in 1998, when he was put on the ballot as a Libertarian Party candidate in 46 states. According to Paul, his presidential campaign was about more than obtaining office; he sought to promote his libertarian ideas, often to school and university groups regardless of vote eligibility.
In 2008, he was largely ignored by the mainstream media as a GOP presidential candidate, but his campaign had intense grassroots support and raised more money than expected. Though projections of 2008 Republican delegate counts varied widely, Paul was consistently third among the three candidates remaining after Super Tuesday. He withdrew from the race in June 2008.
Paul is the author of several books, including "Challenge to Liberty," "The Case for Gold" and "A Republic, If You Can Keep It."
On The Issues:
Defense -- Paul says he would make securing the country's borders his top national security priority and would end what he calls "nation building" conflicts that he claims unnecessarily drain troop morale, increase the country's debt and sacrifice lives with no end in sight. He also wants to abolish the Transportation Security Administration because he claims it is unconstitutional.
Energy -- Like other candidates, he wants to remove restrictions on domestic oil and natural gas drilling and do away with the Environmental Protection Agency. Paul has also called for an end to the federal gas tax and ending roadblocks to the expanded use of nuclear power.
Health Care -- Paul wants to repeal "Obamacare" and enable consumers to buy health insurance across state lines to increase competition. He would also provide tax credits and deductions for all medical expenses, enact medical malpractice reform and make all Americans eligible for Health Savings Accounts.
Jobs -- He calls for doing away with federal income, capital gains and death taxes and would oppose any further debt ceiling increases and veto any unbalanced budget Congress sent to his desk. Paul also wants to audit and then do away with the Federal Reserve.
Sources: Wikipedia, www.ronpaul2012.com