Paul: Country is moving toward fascism

White House hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Sunday that the U.S. is moving toward fascism, stating that corporations are increasingly “running the show” and citizens are being deprived of their liberties.

Paul clarified that he did not refer to the type of fascism that Adolf Hitler practiced in Germany. “We’re not moving toward Hitler-type fascism, but we’re moving toward a softer fascism,” Paul said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Loss of civil liberties, corporations running the show, big government in bed with big business.”

The lawmaker said the U.S. is moving toward “corporatism.” He also lashed out at a system in which those are criticized as unpatriotic who do not support the war in Iraq or the Patriot Act.

Among GOP contenders, Paul is trailing far behind the leaders in national polls but he has attracted a loyal following and surprised all observers with eye-popping fundraising numbers.

The lawmaker also advocated withdrawing U.S. troops from oversees and cutting off aid to Israel. Paul argued that the money that could be saved in that way would allow the elimination of the income tax.

While leaving the door ajar for an independent run, Paul all but ruled out that he would run as a third-party candidate. He argued that he represents “what Republicanism used to be.”

“I represent the group that wanted to get rid of the Department of Education, the part of part of the Republican Party that used to be non-interventionist overseas,” Paul said, adding, “There was a time when the Republicans defended individual liberty and the Constitution and decreased spending.”