For Paul, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

John McCain may be the presumptive nominee, but the Republican race isn't over—at least not to Ron Paul. The Texas congressman remains an official GOP candidate and has about $5 million in the bank, and a mighty band of fanatical followers. Will the fiercely antiwar conservative become a distraction for McCain at the Republican convention? Paul spoke with NEWSWEEK's Daniel Stone. Excerpts:

What kind of presence will you have at the convention?
We'll have a big rally there one of the days. Since they won't give us a spot, we'll make our own spot. We won't disrupt things—that doesn't achieve anything. But we'll have a presence and present views and try to … get in on the committees to vote on platforms. That's not disruptive.

What are your feelings toward [Libertarian nominee] Bob Barr?
We're pretty friendly. We're allies, he's a good friend. He has called me a couple times recently, so it's very cordial.

Even though he has been targeting your supporters?
I can't blame him. I'm sure that's his goal. [Laughs]

What's your relationship like with McCain?
It pretty much doesn't exist. He has his beliefs and I have mine, and they just don't come together very well.

The nomination is out of reach. How does this end for you?
It's always been about changing the party and changing the country. So I don't see things in conventional political terms. I'll continue to do what I started out to do: to change the direction of the party as well as the country.

What will happen to your campaign's leftover money?
It'll be used in an organization that has not yet been decided, to carry on exactly what we're doing in the campaign, to promote these views that everybody comes together on.

After the convention, will you endorse a candidate?
I'm not going to tell [my supporters] what to do. The support was really organized outside the campaign, so it'd be kind of odd to say, "Well, now that you've all come together, I'm going to tell you what you ought to do." They'll figure out what to do.

Most of your supporters are libertarian. Why are you still a Republican?
It affords me opportunities to talk about the Constitution. If I had not been in one of the major parties, I wouldn't have been in the debates. If I hadn't been in the debates, no one would have ever heard of me.

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