DES MOINES: "Does anybody here know the name Kelly Clarkson?" asked Ron Paul as he started his speech at a Des Moines high school gymnasium Tuesday morning.
Hundreds of students, just back from holiday break, erupted in cheers as the Texas congressman admitted he didn't know much about the pop star until she threw her support behind him recently.
Paul explained that after Clarkson came out for him, "Our supporters went out and bumped up her sales by 600%."
She was the first winner of "American Idol," in 2002.
Paul said he hoped that the high school students would show him similar success on Tuesday night.
The morning event at Valley West High School was organized by Rock the Vote, a group devoted to engaging young people in the political process.
Paul received one of the warmest welcomes as he walked out to defining cheers. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum also appeared.
Paul, who at 76 is older than some of the students' grandparents, said that he was puzzled by all the support from young people, but reasoned that it's because "I endorse and defend the Constitution and that's very appealing to young people."