Paul’s army invades Straw Poll

By Curtis Raye

Aug 11, 2007 3:48pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: Congressman Ron Paul’s is in the Republican Party, but he’s really more of a strict libertarian. Some of the more dyed in the wool Republicans at the Iowa Straw Poll aren’t sure how to deal with Paul or his small army of mostly young, scruffy supporters.

For instance, as the legion of supporters bussed to Ames by the front-running and financially flush Mitt Romney lined into the Hilton Coliseum, the venue at Iowa State where candidates were giving their speeches to Iowa Republicans, Paul’s supporters stood in front of the door, creating a bit of a pedestrian traffic jam and started an impromptu rally, complete with bull horn, shouts of "Ron Paul" and two men with fife and drum (get it? Paul is a "Constitutionalist").

Inside the Coliseum, when straw poll MC and conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, an ardent supporter of the Iraq War, announced Paul, who thinks the troops should "just come home" and his supporters, she called them the "Peace Train" and sounded mildly insulting about it.

But Paul told the crowd that the Republican party has lost its way. "Its not so long ago that the Republican party stood for getting rid of the Department of Education and the Department of Energy," he said. "Where are we on that?" he asked.

In the course of his speech to the crowd, Paul talked about cutting big government. And he means it. He told voters he would do away with the Federal Reserve and pointed to economic problems being caused by defaulting home loans as a reason to do away with the federal reserve, "stop printing paper money out of thin air" and return to gold and silver as monetary standards.

Paul said he wants the military to provide for defense and nothing more. Today’s speech added a twist to his oft-repeated platform to disengage immediately from Iraq when he invoked the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

"Bridges in this country are falling down," he told the crowd. "You pay to blow down bridges in Iraq, hen you pay to rebuild them, and our bridges are falling down here!" Thunderous applause.

He also got a standing ovation when he closed his speech by succinctly laying out what a Paul administration would look like.

"I do not want to run your life, your family, or your religious beliefs. I do not want to run the economy and I don’t want to police the world. I don’t know how and it doesn’t work."

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