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Ron Paul, a long-shot Republican presidential contender and Texas congressman, said Monday that the Federal Reserve is to blame for the country's weakening economy.
Paul highlighted his economic remedies — abolishing the federal income tax and returning to the gold standard, among them — on a three-city tour of Louisiana.
The libertarian-minded Paul was the only candidate to visit Louisiana on the eve of the state's Republican caucuses Tuesday. The caucuses are an intermediary step in picking a favorite candidate. A presidential primary will take place on Feb. 9 and a state convention will convene on Feb. 16.
Paul blamed the Federal Reserve for the current economic conditions; stock markets worldwide fell Monday after Wall Street declined last week. On his Web site, he said the Fed has taken the United States "into a terrible crisis."
Paul told an overflow crowd at a suburban New Orleans hotel Monday that the Fed has allowed the dollar to weaken, which in turn, he said, has hurt the middle class and led to inflation.
"I would enjoy being the next president to get rid of our central bank," he told supporters. The crowd gave him a raucous welcome, chanting at one point, "Who dat? Who dat say they're gonna beat Ron Paul?" — a riff on a popular football chant for the New Orleans Saints.