Suddenly, Ron Paul is a contender

Pumped up by a record day of online fundraising, Republican presidential contender Ron Paul said Wednesday he hopes to do well in a New Hampshire campaign in which he’s emerging as a potential spoiler — or more.

In an Associated Press interview, he said people startled by the $4.3 million take from his volunteer-led fundraising blitz Monday might be surprised on Election Day as well.

“They said if the candidate doesn’t call and pander to special interests you can’t raise enough money. But here, we found out the campaign is very spontaneous and volunteers are coming,” he said.

“So, I would say a campaign like ours would surprise others.”

More important than money is his message, Paul said before starting a full day of campaigning in the first-primary state, with promises of more to come.

“I will be here a lot more but I think there’s something in the air that says people are starved for a different message, and I have that message,” he said.

Paul, a Texas congressman considered an extreme long-shot for the presidency, has stood out at Republican debates as the strongest advocate for a quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. But he said much of his support comes from people frightened about the economy — jobs, health care and the prospect of $100-a-barrel oil.

“We have to stop spending the money excessively. We have to stop printing the money,” said Paul, who favors returning to the gold standard to shore up the dollar.

After the interview, Paul spoke to about 150 students at Nashua South High School and won applause for his remarks on Iraq. He said if he’s elected, U.S. troops wouldn’t come home in a day but could be withdrawn in two to three months.

In Wednesday’s interview, he also dismissed Pakistan’s embattled president as “nothing more than a puppet government for the United States.”

Though he reiterated his call for ending foreign aid and using the money at home, he did not say whether he favors immediately ending aid to Pakistan.

The campaign’s Internet prowess has drawn comparisons to Democrat Howard Dean, the Democratic front-runner in 2004 until Iowa and New Hampshire. Dean also strongly opposed the war.

Paul said the U.S. failure in Iraq is much clearer now, and his message is much broader than Dean’s.

“He didn’t have a non-intervention foreign policy. I talk about policy overall,” he said.

Even before Monday, Paul had crept up to fourth in state GOP polling, with 7 percent in a survey last month by SRBI Research for Saint Anselm College. That put him behind Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain and essentially tied with Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson.

People are suddenly paying attention.

“I could see if Ron Paul gets 10 percent he could finish in fourth place,” said Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. If Romney, Giuliani or McCain slip up, Paul could do even better, Smith said.

Smith said Paul’s anti-establishment image, similar to underdog winner Pat Buchanan’s in 1996, appeals to voters unhappy with what the mainstream candidates are offering.

But Dante Scala, a University of New Hampshire political scientist, said Paul needs to expand his base beyond the young, the libertarian and the disaffected.

“There is a ceiling on his coalition of voters,” said Scala. “He’s going to have to break through that ceiling and, at least in New Hampshire, reach out to more moderate Republicans.”

Paul agreed.

“I think that’s where our greatest strength is, is the fact that the unhappy Republicans and independents have turned against the Republicans because the Republicans claimed they were conservatives and they weren’t. They spent too much. The debt exploded and the war has been poorly run. We shouldn’t have been in it,” he said.

Paul reiterated his faith in the grass-roots effort propelling his campaign forward later in the day at a pizza shop in Concord where reporters outnumbered staff and patrons.

“I think people are very unhappy” with other candidates’ messages, he said. “They hear something different from me. … What I talk about is believable.”

Smith said the depth of that discontent, and Paul’s ability to tap it, remain to be seen. Without winning, Paul simply fulfills the role of an ideological candidate pushing his position, Smith said.

“And then they fade,” he said. “Voters want to see someone who can win in November. The nominating process is all about picking a winner.”


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  1. Sandra Price

    This is the weekend to show him our support. Even CSPAN this morning has more callers for Paul than I can ever remember in the past.

    Visit the site and make a donation and we will get the publicity we need.

    Watch his commercials….they are great!

  2. Sandra Price

    Strato, Paul has represented the 14th District of Texas for 20 years. That district in in the southeast corner of Texas on the Gulf. He has tried to stop so many expensive tax-payers bills that he is often known as “Dr. No.”

    He is an Epicopalian with a wife and five grown children. He is a Physician, born in 1935 in Pittsburgh and got his medical degree at Duke University.

    I don’t know much more to tell you except he was a candidate in 1988 for President as a Libertarian. He is, in my opinion the best of the GOP which means much less than it used to.

  3. Stratocaster

    Never mind. This guy doesn’t fit into the usual power structures. I need to do some reseach to figure out how he reached cult status. I will reserve my opinions until then.

  4. Stratocaster

    I have never heard of Ron Paul. What part of Texas is he from? Is he a Baptist? I’m just trying to figure out where this guy is coming from.

  5. yarply

    Life has to start,, Somewhere.

    With Ron being a doctor I would be surprised if he at one time or another did not maybe try to get a federal law of that kind passed. As a definition of when life occurs. I would say it is hard for anyone who has delivered as many babies as he reportedly has or for anyone who has had a baby and fallen in love with the the newborn to think of life as not starting at conception. If it doesn’t start then, when would it “start”?

    If you look through a microscope and see the ‘movement’ of the male “seed” you would have to say it has life. If you looked through the microscope and saw the unfertilized egg of a woman you may question if there is life or not, but would be hard pressed to deny the potential for life.
    Once mixed and thus both joining together becoming one and undeniable movement (growth) occurs it would seem to me that the joined cycles of the potential (egg) and the living spark (seed), that life of the egg as a whole has begun. If someone believes life has not begun at that point (conception) then why worry, for if it has no life it can not grow.

    No need to kill that which has no life….

  6. Paolo

    I believe Ron Paul once called for a federal law defining life as beginning at conception. If this is true, I think this would be an example of inconsistency; there is no enumerated power in the Constitution saying Congress can legislate in this area. On the other hand, this was years ago, and he has since consistently said he would leave abortion to the states, which is the Constitutional position.

    For those of you who have noted Ron Paul will be given the “Dean” treatment–I agree. This is inevitable. Anyone can make anyone else seem really stupid by repeating, over and over, a garbled sentence, or an inappropriate yell, or a confused answer. We all do it, folks. We’re human. I guarantee this will happen to Paul, one way or the other.

    Can the American people, drenched in years of image maker politics, see through it? I don’t know, honestly.

  7. Ardie

    I also think the IX Amendment gives a woman the implicit right to govern her body which includes her reproductive organs, including the fetus. As the saying went in ancient Rome, as long as the fruit was still attached to the tree, it belonged to the tree.

    1821 was the year of America’s first statutory abortion regulation. After that, in 1856 there was a drive to outlaw legal abortion. Also, keep in mind that women didn’t have the right to vote; they were little more than chattel.

    By 1890, as an important element of the new eugenics movement, to ensure that white women would have enough babies since the white birth rate was on the decline, abortion was regulated by statutes created by the AMA.

  8. Sandra Price

    Strato. He has been a Congressman from Texas for 10 terms, (20 years). He has an extraordinary voting record. He is very fiscally conservative.

  9. yarply

    Saying you don’t trust anyone from that state is (to me) a little too close to saying, I don’t trust anyone of that race, and seeing YOU live there also????

    I’ll have to think on your statement. I live in Texas and I don’t trust anyone from Texas…

  10. yarply

    Innuendos and sly insinuations are not worthy of being debated. If you have information showing oil money then reveal it. I guess in all truth everyone has some ties to the oil companies,, seeing we all buy their oil, gas and petroleum based products.

  11. Stratocaster

    I don’t know this guy, but after having lived in Texas for more than thirty years, I don’t trust anyone from this state.

  12. Oyate

    Nob big oil, no PAC money, no big corporate donors.

    On Nov 5th we raised $4.2 million. $4 came from online donations paid with credit cards. These are not pledges this is real money in real time.

    There were 38,869 donations from 36672 individuals in this period. 17396 these were new donors, persons who had never donated before. The average donation was $103 dollars. These are average American people.

    But allow me to ask, why in the world would big oil donate to the Paul campaign? Have you taken one minute to examine his positions? He’s for ending corporate welfare and retracting our global military quest to steal oil from producing nations.

    Outright lies and insinuations seem to be the order of the day for Paul detractors.

  13. Sandra Price

    Checkerboard. You are so “on the money.” I miss your posts on RR. I’m out and can’t even read in…..I was bad! I deserved it!

  14. CheckerboardStrangler

    I think the evangelicals and fundies should be free to go wipe out Islam, just not with any funding from the taxpayers. If they want to finance their own trip to the Middle East, finance their own weapons purchases and train themselves I have no power to stop them.
    I DO however, have the power to “just say no” when it comes to funding them.

    Let them fight their war the way the Islamic radicals fight it, self-funded and self-taught.

    The thought of Erik Prince, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Pat Robertson all dressed up in fatigues with an AK-47 and a Bible strapped to the waists is very appealing.

    And…one more condition, they must renounce their American citizenship before they leave.
    After all, since they’re fighting a holy war and not a United States war it must be clear that they do not fight in our name.