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Monday, August 15, 2011

Huffington Post: Ron Paul the new mainstream

By PHILIP ELLIOTT
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Ron Paul, once seen as a fringe candidate and a nuisance to the establishment, is shaping the 2012 Republican primary by giving voice to the party's libertarian wing and reflecting frustration with the United States' international entanglements.
The Texas congressman placed second in a key early test vote Saturday in Ames, coming within 152 votes of winning the first significant balloting of the Republican nominating contest. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the nonbinding Iowa straw poll, but Paul's organizational strength and a retooled focus on social issues set him up to be a serious player in the campaign.
"I believe in a very limited role for government. But the prime reason that government exists in a free society is to protect liberty, but also to protect life. And I mean all life," he told a raucous crowd on Saturday.
"You cannot have relative value for life and deal with that. We cannot play God and make those decisions. All life is precious," he said, opening his remarks with an anti-abortion appeal to the social conservatives who have great sway here in Iowa's leadoff caucuses.
Later Saturday, Paul won 4,671 votes, or roughly 28 percent of the votes from party activists who flocked to a college campus for the daylong political carnival
Paul's narrow second-place finish pushed former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty down to third, leading Pawlenty on Sunday to abandon his effort to challenge President Barack Obama next November.
Four years ago, Paul sought the GOP nomination while talking about economic policy, liberty and the Federal Reserve. Since then, the tea party has risen and seized on those issues, and some regard Paul as one of the movement's godfathers.
"The country's bankrupt, and nobody wanted to admit it. And when you're bankrupt, you can't keep spending," Paul said Thursday during a Fox News Channel debate.
He may lack the broad appeal that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry are claiming, but Paul's finish Saturday indicated he could compete. Full Story




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