Paul Propels Past Iowa
ANKENY, IA–It was a disappointing night in Iowa for Texas Governor Rick Perry. After coming in fifth in the Iowa caucuses, he says he’s coming back to Texas to reassess his presidential bid. But for the other Texan in the race, Tuesday’s results left no question about what comes next.
In Congressman Ron Paul’s eyes, there were three tickets out of Iowa. With a third place finish, that was good enough.
“I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of, everything to be satisfied and be ready and raring to go on to the next stop – which is New Hampshire,” he told cheering supporters at his Iowa campaign headquarters Tuesday night.
And judging from his supporters packed into the hotel’s ballroom, they’re right there with him.
The crowd skewed young, affirming the conventional wisdom that Paul’s is a campaign driven by youth. Ironic, given that–at 76 years old–he’s the oldest candidate in the hunt for the GOP nomination. Scruffy teenagers and bearded 20-somethings made up much of the crowd. But there was one guy that stood out. Dressed in fatigues, Army Corporal Jesse Thorsen was there with his wife and young daughter.
“It seems like Ron Paul supporters tend to be optimistic and enthusiastic and excited and passionate – and that’s what I’m looking for in a candidate,” Thorsen said
He’s has been in the military for 10 years; served two tours in Afghanistan, and is headed for a third. Later in the evening, he’d join the candidate on stage during Paul’s speech to supporters. Thorsen’s all for Paul’s calls for ending the war in Afghanistan. And he summed up what draws a lot of the supporters to Ron Paul.
“I don’t want a fake politician. I don’t want a politician that’s been basically cheating the system for a long time,” Thorsen said. “And I don’t want someone who runs off of their faith. And that’s another thing I love about Ron Paul: he says faith is a personal thing to him, and I think that’s great. Faith doesn’t belong in politics and he understands that.”
But more than anything, Paul says his campaign in Iowa was successful in bringing the issues he and his supporters are passionate about into the debate. That includes things like ending the war on drugs and going back to the gold standard.
Ron Paul Cut 3: “So those are the issue that we have brought front and center – they’re out there. They’re not going to go away. And we have tremendous opportunity to continue this momentum. It won’t be long before there’s another election up in New Hampshire, and believe me, this momentum is going to continue and this movement is going to continue, and we are going to keep scoring, just as we have tonight. (cheering)” (0:25)
Paul has some ground to make up, if he’s going to score in New Hampshire. Polls do have him in second place there, but it’s a distant second behind Mitt Romney. His strong showing in Iowa could give him a bounce, but pundits and establishment Republicans say he has little chance of actually getting the nomination.