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Paul: Political parties are a vehicle to getting elected

BEDFORD AND CONCORD, NH -- Ron Paul on Tuesday said he sees the Republican Party as a vehicle with which to get elected -- but not as a party or a structure that he fully supports.

The Texas congressman's position came in answer to a voter's question about why he participates in the two-party system, rather than running as an independent or third-party presidential candidate.

"You probably wouldn't even know my name if I had done this in a third party. I would have never been elected to the Congress," he said today at Enviro-Tote, a reusable cloth bag manufacturer. "Think of the parties as a vehicle for getting the message out and getting elected."

Paul went on to criticize the current format of national elections, saying: "It would be nice" to have a multi-party system. But Paul conceded his run as a third-party candidate would be "very, very difficult," given the Democratic and Republican parties' overwhleming roles in scheduling debates and other election matters.

Today, Paul said he has no plans to run as a third party candidate. But in late October, he refused to rule out that possibility. "I have no intention of doing it," Paul told CNN. "Nobody has particularly asked me to do it, and they know what I'm doing and I have no plans whatsoever to do it."

Paul ran for president as a libertarian in the 1988 election and as a Republican in 2008. And in his third bid for the White House, Paul's campaign says it has attracted more mainstream Republican support than it has in the past.

"You do your best with it and work with it," Paul said. "To me the only things that counts are attitudes. Prevailing attitudes. Understanding economics. How you understand liberty. What kind of foreign policy you want. That's what really counts."