NEWTON, Iowa — Ron Paul is no longer being ignored.
Returning to campaign in Iowa on Wednesday as the king of the presidential hill — albeit barely, according to the latest average of polls here — the 12-term congressman from Texas was greeted with a swarm of press coverage and a hail of attacks from his fellow candidates.
“It does look like there are more cameras than there used to be,” he chuckled as he made his first stop in Newton, surveying a standing-room-only crowd of a couple of hundred voters who packed into the Iowa Speedway media tent to hear him speak.
Mr. Paul is no stranger here. He’s one of two repeat candidates from the 2008 GOP field, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and he’s been remarkably consistent in his positions throughout those four years, and even before that. The main thing that’s changed, he said, is everything else.
“I’ve been talking about freedom for a long time. That’s what motivated me to get into politics. And for many years the crowds were very small, there was little interest, but it’s steadily grown,” he said. “All of a sudden people are tired of the wars, they’re tired of this economy, they’re tired of the Federal Reserve, they’re tired of Congress spending a lot of money. And they’re looking for some change and I have suggested one significant change: Why don’t we just follow the Constitution?”
As his government-shrinking, military-cutting, fiscal responsibility message is getting a second look by GOP voters, Mr. Paul is suddenly the talk of Iowa, holding a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls with less than a week to go until the Tuesday caucuses and sparking fierce debate among his fellow Republicans.
Some in the GOP say a Paul win in Iowa would diminish the caucuses, and Gov. Terry Branstad this month told Politico that it would make folks look at second and third place to determine where momentum really lies in the national race.
His opponents, too, are taking notice — and taking aim. Mr. Paul’s pronouncement at the final pre-caucus debate this month that he would not use force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon has provided the ammunition.
The question is whether Mr. Paul can translate his appeal into votes.
In 2008, that wasn’t the case. He poured millions of dollars into Iowa but managed only a fifth-place showing with 9.9 percent of the votes cast. He placed behind Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who didn’t even contest Iowa.
In later caucuses, with a narrower field, Mr. Paul did better, including taking nearly a quarter of the vote in Montana’s caucuses early that February. But he never cracked the 10 percent mark in any of the primaries and scaled down his campaign March 6.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jay Sekulow
The left's outrage over the IRS turns to a plea to 'move on'
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Politics and pop culture from the perspective of an independent hip-hop conservative
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal