- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2007

More than 300 enthusiastic supporters, most under the age of 30, turned out last night to hear Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul discuss foreign and monetary policy in Arlington.

“The young people are responding very favorably to the message,” Mr. Paul said in an address to the Robert A. Taft Club, a year-old organization that has only 35 members but drew a standing-room only crowd to the Boulevard Woodgrill.

The Texas Republican criticized the income tax and what he called the Bush administration’s “illegal, unwise, unconstitutional military adventurism,” drawing applause from young conservatives like Lauren Drew.

“People feel that the Republican Party has abandoned those things that are important,” Miss Drew, a senior at George Washington University and an organizer for a Northern Virginia group of Paul supporters. She said about 80 members of her group attended the event and most brought friends.

“Dr. Paul is a wonderful man,” she said. “He’s the kind of man that if you knock on his the door of his office in Congress, you can have an instant conversation.”

Another Northern Virginia supporter, Clinton Libby, said, “Ron Paul supports the Constitution. He doesn’t take money from interest groups. Mr. Paul is a man of the people.”

Despite the underdog candidate’s low standing in national polls, during a question-and-answer session after Mr. Paul’s speech, audience members repeatedly began their questions with, “When you become president ….”

Within the past month, Mr. Paul has gained momentum after reporting that he had raised $5 million during the most recent quarter.

Taft Club members and officials said the club’s past forums had never gathered as many participants or as much attention as did last night’s event, which was recorded by a C-SPAN camera crew.

Before yesterday’s forum, Robert Taft Club founder Marcus Epstein had continually insisted that Mr. Paul’s presence at the club was not a campaign event. But on the sidewalks outside the restaurant on Wilson Boulevard, a half-dozen supporters displayed the candidate’s campaign signs.

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