Paul Offers No GOP Support at Minn. Rally

Joni Leckey, a Paul supporter from Oregon attending the "Rally for the Republic" with her four children ages 8 to 17, says the McCain campaign has not made any efforts to draw her support but challenged the Republican presidential candidate to try. "If they call us, we'll convert them," she said.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura, one of the rally's afternoon speakers, encouraged the group to "get the revolution going."

""If I see it start to rise up, well then maybe in 2012," Ventura promised.

Earlier in the day, Paul walked the line between keeping his message positive and venturing into anti-McCain territory.

Paul said he's not worried that his rally, staged strategically during the Republican National Convention, will draw support from McCain.

"For every vote that will leave McCain because of what I have said, there will be two who leave Obama," Paul said, because, according to the congressman, while Obama talks about a more peaceful approach to foreign policy than McCain, "He's every bit as hawkish as Sen. McCain is."

Paul won't encourage delegates attending the Republican convention in St. Paul who sympathize with him to throw their vote toward McCain in the interest of party unity either. Why bother, he said, since McCain already has the votes he needs.

Fighting for Paul Supporters

"I'm not urging them to vote for Sen. McCain. What they do there is incidental, because Sen. McCain has the nomination," he said.

Indeed, David Fischer, a Paul supporter and alternate from Iowa's delegation at the RNC, who was waiting in line for entrance to the Target Center arena, said McCain has not convinced him.

"John McCain has the opportunity to win my support," Fischer said, "but he doesn't have it yet."

Fischer says he doesn't necessarily wear his Paul allegiance on his sleeve within the delegation but believes most "think it's OK to have a certain amount of people to hold the candidate's feet to the fire."

Paul, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988 and again this year as a Republican, remains part of the GOP today. But he is a prodigal one at best.

He told reporters Tuesday that convention officials have restricted his floor access, insisting he have a chaperone at all times, and have taken his credential when he leaves the building. They won't allow his three staffers to accompany him, Paul says.

But Paul is trying not to strike too dissonant a tone, arguing that holding his rally is more positive than staging a protest on the convention floor. Depending on several sources, the number of Paul supporters credentialed for the convention are anywhere between 30 and 400.

He says party leaders should be a little more welcoming, given his success fundraising online and popularity with young people. "To me this is a great advantage to the Republican Party because we have brought so many new people in," he said.

Helena Brown, attending the RNC with the Texas delegation, campaigned for Paul during the primary and came to the rally to distribute pins and bumper stickers among the group.

She described the gathering as "a celebration" and insisted it "doesn't distract" from the activities of the convention, saying that, rather, it "calls up on the Republicans to remember our Founding Fathers calls."

Still, Paul's second-class status has triggered an anger among the "new people" he credits as his supporters.

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