The Washington Times - July 14, 2012, 11:41AM

Ron Paul has acknowledged that Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP presidential nominee, but the Texas congressman’s backers are optimistic that Nebraska Republicans will give the libertarian-leaning candidate a consolation prize today: a guaranteed chance to speak at the August convention.

Nebraska Republicans are meeting on Saturday in Grand Island, and Mr. Paul’s dedicated followers are making a late push to win control of the slate of delegates chosen to attend the August GOP convention — if the Paul team is successful, Nebraska could be the fifth slate of delegates controlled by the congressman, earning Mr. Paul a speaker’s slot in Tampa, Fla.

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Mr. Romney has long since turned the focus of his campaign from the hotly contested primary to the fall election, but the prospect of having the outspoken Texas congressman popping up in the middle of the nationally-televised convention and muddying the Romney message has party officials and convention planners worried.

Romney surrogates and supporters, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, are also working the delegates at the Grand Island convention Saturday, trying to ensure the former Massachusetts governor doesn’t suffer an embarrassing late-season primary black eye.