Nov. 6, 2007 -- The day after Ron Paul shattered fundraising records by raising $4.3 million in 24 hours -- $4 million of it online, more money online than any other Republican has ever raised -- the candidate told ABC News he was pleasantly surprised by the historic financial boost.
"To me it's pretty remarkable and pleasantly surprising," the Texas Republican told ABC News' Sam Donaldson and ABC News' Political Director David Chalian on "Politics Live" airing daily on ABC News' 24-hour digital network.
"Now we'll have the money to advertise in a major sort of way in South Carolina, in Nevada, as well to beef up our organization in Iowa," he said.
Paul's Haul Puts Primaries in Play
With minimal help from Paul's campaign, his supporters helped to raise the money through a Web site called ThisNovember5th.com — a reference to the day the British commemorate the thwarted bombing of the Parliament by anti-Protestant rebel Guy Fawkes.
Many fans of Paul know of the day primarily because of the movie "V for Vendetta" — in which a terrorist modeled after Fawkes battles a draconian government that has taken over Britain.
"It was a mystery and something I'm learning about," said Paul, who said he hasn't seen the movie.
"They just used this as a way to symbolize one individual trying to stand up to the abuses of the state. [Of] course the movie ended a lot better than did the history," Paul said, careful to note that the organizers of this fundraiser and his campaign advocate changing the government peacefully.
"Everybody that's coming together is sick and tired of big government and they don't trust the major parties and the leadership of the major parties right now," he said.
With more money in the bank now than several Republican rivals including Arizona Sen. John McCain, Paul said the campaign will use the money to buy radio and television advertising in key primary states.
"Just in the last week or two we've spent about a million and a half buying television and radio and we're going into New Hampshire, which is a really ripe state for us because there are a lot of independents," he said.
Reconsidering the 'Revolution'
The fundraising bombshell put Paul headlines in publications that have typically ignored the Texas congressman and libertarian Republican — also putting Paul on the radar of potential supporters and rivals.
"I have been thinking about Ron Paul. I know that he is a Republican, but I was thinking more towards a constitutional thinker and getting more towards, back to our constitutional rights," Tom Caoranic of Medina, Ohio, told ABC News' Kate Snow on the campaign trail one year before the election in November.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, also campaigning for the Republican nod, stopped by the Carolina Hope Christian Adoption agency in Greenville, S.C., today and did not exactly extend congratulations to Paul and his online army.
"Let's see," Romney said when asked about the fundraising haul, "he's getting close to what I raised in our first day. So, I'm delighted that he's been able to raise what he needs to raise to go forward. It's only two thirds as much, a little less than that than we raised in our first day."
Romney said he received $6.4 million in donations and pledges the first day of his campaign, but campaign finance reports make it difficult to ascertain exactly how much of that amount actually ended up in his campaign coffers.
Reports indicate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., raised $6.2 million on a single day this summer, but not all of that amount came online.
However Paul's campaign staffers -- adamant that they shattered fundraising records -- held a news conference Tuesday to refute the Romney and Clinton numbers.
"Yesterday was the largest primary fundraising day in the history of political campaigns and it was the largest GOP online day in GOP history," said Ron Paul fundraising director Jonathan Bydlak.
"According to the FEC, that number is inaccurate," Bydlak said about Romney's reported $6.4 million one-day haul.
Inspired Paul supporters are already plotting new fundraising plots.
"There are a lot of ideas floating around right now," said Trevor Lyman. "Dec. 15 is Bill of Rights Day and the 16th is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, so maybe it will be a weekend thing."
Lyman, the organizer of the independent Web site that coordinated the fundraising drive, was happy with the results, even if the campaign did not raise the $10 million originally envisioned.
He and other Paul supporters are already looking to new symbolic dates for fundraising drives.
"In the Boston Tea Party they were protesting taxes on tea with the Boston Tea Party and so maybe we will protest the inflation tax on our money by dumping it into his campaign."
Who's Giving Money?
Most of Paul's support at campaign rallies has seemed to emanate from college campuses and online from a dedicated legion of Web-savvy followers.
But financially, his support seems to come from a broader base. The names online contributors flash across Paul's Web site.
One of those names, pulled at random and contacted by ABC News, is Ed Kirkpatrick, of Mulkeytown, Ill.
Kirkpatrick, 53, was actually online at Paul's Web site when we reached him, though he said Mulkeytown is not exactly the modern world and the best he can get is a slow dial-up connection.
He said he had intended to give Paul money for some time, but the coordination of supporters to all give money on Nov. 5 put him over the edge.
Kirkpatrick, who is on disability with back problems after a career as a quality control inspector, gave $100.
"He's a breath of fresh air," Kirkpatrick said of Paul. "He is representing what no other candidate represents in my opinion — back to the basics and back to what this country was founded on. He'll say what's on his mind. I don't see anything wishy washy about him and he'll say what he thinks instead of him telling me what I want to hear."
To that end, Kirkpatrick, who voted for George W. Bush in 2004 but has not given money to any presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan, said he doesn't agree with Paul on everything, though "disagree might be a bit of a stretch."
As a libertarian Republican, Paul would allow the use of medical marijuana and even broke with the Republican Party back in the '80s over the so-called war on drugs.
"It would be interesting to see [legalizing] drugs works out," Kirkpatrick said.
He also pointed to Paul's disengagement ideas for foreign policy that could have "interesting" consequences, but Kirkpatrick thinks Paul would not be able to pull troops out of Iraq as quickly as everyone thinks.
"I know that him saying that doesn't mean it would happen immediately even if he was elected. The media try to make him sound like a bloomin' idiot up there. Everything would happen tomorrow. But it takes time. He knows that. I know that. Anybody who thinks about it knows it."
Political watchers say Paul's haul points to the fact that the Internet is alive and well as a legitimate fundraising tool.
"One of the things that the campaign has been doing well is that they haven't tried in any way to co-opt all of this activity and force it onto Ron Paul's own Web site. They've kind of let people do their own thing," said Julie Germany of The Institute for Politics Democracy & the Internet at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
"Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Giuliani — all of the other big candidates really try to force people to take actions onto their own site and they also try to funnel all of that online activity through their own channel so that they can control it, so that they can observe what is going on, so that they can keep a handle on things," she added.
Paul said his online fundraising prowess has boosted his credibility on the campaign trail and in Washington, though he has yet to get even one endorsement from a member of Congress.
"But, boy, I sure get a lot of friendly handshakes lately and a lot of congratulations, and so I think there's a shift of attitude even here in the Congress," Paul said.
"Something is really astir. I think we've gotten the attention not only of the American people, but the politicians here in Washington as well."