View Full Version : Barred from debate, Paul makes do

Bradley in DC
01-08-2008, 08:39 AM

Barred from debate, Paul makes do
Candidate speaks with voters on community access TV

By Ethan Wilensky-Lanford
Monitor staff
January 07. 2008 12:26AM

While other Republican candidates were preparing for a final pre-primary debate last night, Ron Paul staged a town hall meeting from a public access television studio in Manchester.

Paul supporters crammed the room. Paul's campaign coordinator posed as a moderator. The two stood on a circular rug in a converted warehouse, in front of hanging American flags.

His town hall meeting ran on Manchester Community Access Media. Paul's campaign planned to simulcast it online, but so many people visited the station's website that its server crashed.

The campaign tried to call only on undecided New Hampshire voters. But one man sitting in the undecided section was a committed Paul supporter from Kentucky. Another was a woman who had attended a house party for Paul a few days earlier, who said she was "pretty convinced" she would vote for Paul before the town hall meeting began.

The candidate started the day speaking at a state GOP brunch in Milford. He thanked the state party's chairman, Fergus Cullen, for ending a partnership with Fox News, which hosted last night's debate, after the network refused to invite Paul and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California.

Paul then sought to claim the legacy of the authentic Republican Party.

"My positions over the years have always been the same, whether I was supporting Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 or Ronald Reagan," Paul said. "There is nothing wrong with consistency."

He said that the Republican base has shrunk, while spending on bureaucracies like the Department of Education has doubled during the Bush administration.

Occasionally, supporters at his table cheered, but the party activists and legislative staff were conspicuously silent.

Hours later, he drew a much better reception at a Free State Project rally in Nashua. The organization's goals include sizably reducing government.

About 500 people paid $20 to hear him speak, some spending hundreds more to attend a three-day forum. When Paul was introduced, hoots, hollers and at least one "Amen" shot up from the crowd.

He was comfortable enough to chide those people supporting his candidacy merely because he advocates repealing the federal income tax. He rebuked a government that tried to "legislate virtue." And he called on the attendees to take an active stance promoting liberty.

"The Republican leadership," he said, "have lost their way." Audience members jumped to their feet and screamed.

They cheered time and time again. Some pumped their arms in the air. A foster care worker wiped tears from her eyes.

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