Republican Congressman Ron Paul said Monday his unwavering opposition to war could help him defeat President Barack Obama in a national election.
"The reality is it would be very, very difficult," Rep Paul (R-TX) said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "But if you look at the polls, and there aren't that many, my appeal is to a lot of independents and a lot of progressive Democrats who are sick and tired of Obama for opting out of cutting back on some of this militarism."
"He's a war monger," Rep. Paul added. "He's expanding the war. My numbers would be much bigger running against Obama than they will be running against some conservative in the Republican primary."
For the second year running, Texas congressman Ron Paul came out on top among conservative Republicans in a "straw poll" contest to gauge popularity ahead of the 2012 presidential race.
Paul, who calls himself a libertarian, is not really the party's typical standard bearer, by any measure. But he earned the most votes in the contest held by the Conservative Political Action Conference in which about 4,000 people cast ballots.
He drew thunderous applause for bashing the Patriot Act, US aid to foreign nations, and US military bases overseas during his speech at CPAC on Friday.
The conservative group Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) announced Saturday that Rep. Paul would be expelled from the group's National Advisory Board because of his "delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement."
"I think the problem we have is with the semantics," Rep. Paul explained on Morning Joe. "They have conditioned us all to use the word defense spending. Who wants to cut defense? I don't want to cut defense. I want a stronger defense."
"I want to cut the militarism, the interventionism, the stuff that hurts us, that makes us more vulnerable," he continued. "If we separate defense from militarism, maybe more people would be willing to accept it. Who wants to be on record who says I just voted against the defense budget."
"I think it's a perception and a semantics problem that we have to try to reeducate the people to understand what we're talking about."