With a devoted following and a unique message, GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul could have incentive to run as a third-party candidate. But he says political realities make that impossible.

Rep. Ron Paul doesn’t pull his punches. The Texas Republican and presidential candidate with the near-cult-like following believes a letter from GOP leaders to the Federal Reserve urging no more stimulus is “too little too late” – by about 40 years.

He says he won’t run for president as a third-party candidate, because he would be excluded from the debates and because it takes great personal wealth to mount a credible independent candidacy. But he wouldn’t be surprised if a wealthy person did jump in “because of this chaos in the economic system.”

And he insists he hasn’t had any cross words with the GOP front-runner and fellow Texan, Gov. Rick Perry, despite a photo from the Sept. 7 debate that showed Governor Perry jabbing his finger at Congressman Paul. “That’s just a characteristic,” Paul said at a Monitor-hosted breakfast Wednesday. “If he talked to you, he’d probably do the same thing. He’d probably grab you.”

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