- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. | Rep. Ron Paul’s “Rally for the Republic” pledged to bring the Republican Party “back to its roots” on Tuesday, drawing about 10,000 at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.

The supporters - a range of Republican delegates, traditional libertarians and a handful of anarchist activists - roared to their feet when Howard Phillips of the U.S. Taxpayers Party praised Mr. Paul’s call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve.

Chants of “No more Fed” rang out.

“If you want to end the war machine, you have to end the money machine,” Tom Woods, author of “Who Killed the Constitution?” told the energetic crowd.

There was a sense of competition with the Republican convention in St. Paul as speakers expressed pride at the greater sense of enthusiasm in their audience. Numerous Republican delegates chose to attend the rally instead of the convention events, saying they are concerned about the party’s changed direction.

Tracy Saboe, an activist from Sioux Falls, S.D., said, “I have always been a Republican. I grew up believing that Republicans stood for small government, for liberty and for life. I voted for George W. Bush the first time, but after Iraq, I lost faith.”

The speakers also expressed disdain for Sen. John McCain as the presumed Republican presidential nominee.

Speaker Doug Wead, a political author, bashed Mr. McCain and the Republican convention saying, “You are not a fiscal conservative, or any kind of conservative, if you are OK with staying in Iraq for 100 years.”

Mr. Paul, a Texas congressman who failed in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, was to address his followers later Tuesday night.

While attendees reveled in the experience, some were annoyed with the lack of press attention.

Nelson Winters, a Web developer who has supported Mr. Paul for the past nine months, was resentful about the lack of media coverage of the rally.

“I have scanned [newspapers] and looked at the front pages of USA Today, the Pioneer Press and as far as they’re concerned, this isn’t happening,” Mr. Winters said. “They’re all talking about the protesters, even though most of them have been peaceful. I don’t know about them, but I’m here to learn.”

Despite the lack of coverage, supporters stood strong on their priorities.

Mike McHugh, a Republican activist and Ron Paul supporter from Virginia, handed out information on the pending Real ID Act, asking supports to refer to it simply as the “Dangerous ID.”

Mr. McHugh thinks the card would open the door for massive identity theft by creating a federal database that would be vulnerable to hackers.

“I am not a conspiracy theorist,” Mr. McHugh said. “But this will allow people’s movement and information to be tracked.”

An overall optimism was shared by rally attendees as they cheered for their hero. In between speakers and musical entertainment, clips of Mr. Paul flashed across the screen, quoting Hope for America.

Mr. McHugh was undaunted by the meager media coverage, saying, “There is no such thing as a lost cause.”

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