An exuberant Ron Paul vowed to continue to fight on to New Hampshire despite placing third tonight in the Iowa caucuses. Although Paul’s campaign said earlier today that he fully expected to place first or second, Paul is accepting what he calls one of three tickets out of Iowa.
“Believe me, this momentum is going to continue, and this movement is going to continue,” Paul said to hundreds of cheering supporters packed in an Ankeny, Iowa, hotel ballroom, adding that he is one of two candidates who can run a national campaign and raise the money needed, putting himself in company with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
The Texas congressman said his strong showing tonight was thanks in part to his non-interventionist foreign policy positions, which he said were catching on with a majority of Americans who want to pull out of Afghanistan.
He pushed back against critics who accuse him of running for president simply to promote a cause.
“Certainly, but the best way to promote a cause is to win elections,” Paul said.
Paul also took the opportunity to thank what he called the thousands of people nationally involved in his campaign, calling them “ready and roaring to go.”
“We will go on. We will raise the money. I have no doubt about the volunteers,” Paul said, smiling.
Paul scored very strongly among independents, who turned out in much bigger than usual numbers, and with young voters. It’s uncertain whether his anti-establishment candidacy will continue to play in better-attended primaries, where highly motivated but small groups wield less clout.