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ladyliberty
01-07-2008, 04:29 PM
We had a combined sign waving this weekend in Spring Hill Florida with another meetup group in our area and a reporter came out and this is the article:

Paul Supporters Flood Four Corners

TONY HOLT

Published: January 6, 2008

SPRING HILL - Some people will drive long and far for a freedom message.

More than 25 people from across the Suncoast converged on the Four Corners intersection Saturday morning to show their support for a presidential candidate whose campaign has centered on ideas of peace, preservation of civil liberties, lowered taxes and free trade.
Such a scattershot platform typically comes from an independent candidate. Instead, it comes from Republican Ron Paul, a Texas congressman who has earned the fame and backing from a growing number of voters disgruntled with the current political scene.
Spring Hill resident John Baeza was among those supporters holding signs along the busy intersection. When the retired New York City detective first learned about Paul's candidacy, the father of eight felt a surge of optimism – something he hadn't felt in a long time.
"I felt hope for my children," he said. "I felt hope for my family and hope for the generations after them."

Baeza, who lives in Spring Hill, is the associate organizer for the Hernando County chapter of the Paul campaign. Supporters from Land O' Lakes, Wildwood, Inverness, Lecanto and other regional cities traveled to the corner of Spring Hill Drive and Mariner Boulevard waving signs, passing out literature and answering questions from curious motorists.

"Which party is he?" one driver asked while at a stoplight.

"Republican," yelled one Paul supporter. "He's a true conservative."

"We're getting more beeps, more thumbs up, more positive responses than we've ever had," said Baeza, who has taken part in all of the weekly rallies since they began two months ago. "As we were pulling signs out of the cars people were beeping their horns."
Paul has appeared on news talks shows such as "Hardball with Chris Matthews," "Tucker," "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," and "The O'Reilly Factor." He also has visited with Jay Leno and Bill Maher, both of whom said they began to pay closer attention to his campaign when they learned of his opposition to the Iraq War.

His increased television exposure not only is a reflection of his growing popularity, but because no other presidential candidate is anything like him.

Even though he has served 10 terms in the House as a Republican, Paul's independent streak made him an appealing choice for libertarians in 1988. That was the year he ran for president as the Libertarian Party's nominee, earning more than 430,000 popular votes – or .05 percent.

Because he appeals to so many independents, the Paul campaign has a section on its Web site that enables non-Republicans to register online with the party in time for the elections in closed primary states.

"He speaks the simple truth," said head organizer Dan Prentice. "It's refreshing. He talks substance, not about all the things he's done."
Prentice has long been an independent voter. He was skeptical when asked if Paul's candidacy would have any lasting impact on the GOP.

"I think his message will have a bigger meaning on the national as a whole than the Republican Party," he said. "It's all about the restoration of our liberties. The message is the bottom line."

Baeza agreed.

"For him to change the party, they have to be willing to change," he said.

Baeza's world view shifted dramatically following one fateful night in Harlem in 1993. He was working undercover when he encountered a gun-wielding drug dealer. He was robbed and nearly killed, he said.

"I realized something was wrong with the world and the war on drugs," he said. "My political views changed overnight."
Others were drawn to Paul after watching a series of televised debates last year. He caused a stir when he quarreled with Rudy Giuliani over U.S. foreign policy and whether it played a part in inviting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"You can tell he has always had these ideas," said Janet Lawrence of Inverness. "He didn't just whip them up a few months ago to get elected."

Other Paul principles include establishing health savings accounts to make medical coverage more affordable and accessible; eliminating amnesty for illegal immigrants; withdrawing from world organizations like the United Nations, International Criminal Court (ICC) and World Trade Organization (WTO); and repealing the Patriot Act.

Some of those issues have been in direct contrast with fellow Republicans. Many in his own party have lent their support to the campaigns of some of his opponents in past congressional elections, most notably President Bush and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Some have called him radical, old-fashioned and insensitive.

"I think he has a lot more support than the media like to let on," said Ana Mira, who accompanied her husband to Saturday's rally. She brought along her three children, ages 7, 5 and 18 months.

"I have always been a Republican, but until I heard of Ron Paul, I probably wouldn't have even voted this time," she said.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee decisively won last week's Iowa caucuses. A recent Rasmussen poll has him deadlocked in a tie for third place in New Hampshire – with Paul.

While it seems foregone he will not win the nomination, supporters are expecting Paul to leave a permanent mark.

"He's going to do well I think," Prentice said, referring to New Hampshire, Florida and other primaries in the coming weeks. "His message will be heard. It's going to pour out … He's going to blow the doors off this election."

Reporter Tony Holt can be contacted at 352-544-5283 or wholt@hernandotoday.com.

MoneyWhereMyMouthIs2
01-07-2008, 05:10 PM
Nice job, great article.