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Ron Paul receives enthusiastic support during speech at USM

Ron Paul addresses the crowd in Hastings Formal Lounge at the
University of southern Maine Saturday. Paul's rally was part
of the run up to the Maine Republican Caucus starting Feb. 4

Drawing wild applause and cheers, Republican presidential
nominee hopeful Ron Paul stumped at the University of Southern
Maine Saturday, in the run up to Maine’s upcoming Republican

The event was coordinated on the USM side by Student Body
President Chris Camire. Camire said he got in touch Monday
morning with with Maine State Representative Aaron Libby, who
was looking for a liaison at the university to help
coordinate the rally.

“This is incredibly exciting,” Camire said. “It’s extremely
educational to be able to see someone who has sat in the United
States Congress. Not a lot of people get this opportunity.”

Speaking for about 40 minutes, the 76 year-old congressman
from Texas covered the major topics of his platform, advocating
a return to the gold standard, a strictly literal view of the
constitution, and an end to foreign intervention, the PATRIOT
ACT and government regulation of the free market.

Paul reserved some of his strongest criticisms for the current
financial system in the United States.

“One of the worst parts of the monetary system is it allows
government to grow,” he said. “If government grows, your
liberties go down. There is no doubt about that.”

He also drew loud applause for his stated opposition to the
drug war. “The war on drugs is a war on American citizens,” he
said. “I think we should reassess that whole thing.”

Hastings Formal Lounge was filled to capacity for the speech,
with some gathering in an overflow room in Bailey Hall to watch
the speech on CCTV.

Many of those in attendance were enthusiastic Paul supporters,
like Alexandra Mediate, 20 of South Portland. Mediate, who
studied two years at the University of Southern Maine, said she
was planning on voting for him in the upcoming Maine Republican
Caucus. “I love Ron Paul, he’s my favorite candidate,” she
said. “He gives me faith in politics, a little.”

Junior political science major Dylan LaJoie said that while he
doesn’t always agree with Paul’s beliefs, he respects the
candidate for consistency. “For as long as he’s been
running for office now, his opinions have been staying the
same, for the most part,” he said.

Paul’s speech appeared to be more focused on ideas than on the
presidential campaign and was notably absent of mentions of his
fellow presidential hopefuls or even the campaign. “I’m more
excited about changing the direction of this country,” he said
to reporters following the speech.

Paul’s campaign has met mixed results in the first three
Republican primaries and caucuses. He came in third in Iowa
with 21.43 percent of the vote and second New Hampshire with
22.9 percent, but most recently took a hit in South Carolina,
where he finished in fourth place with just 13 percent of the
vote. Now Paul has essentially skipped the race in
Florida—according to Politico[1] he
has not spent a single dollar advertising there, nor organized
any events.

Polling last in
[2], where the
other presidential hopefuls are gearing up for that state’s
primary Tuesday, Paul is the first candidate to visit Maine in
2012. Paul was on the ballot here in the 2008 Republican caucus
along with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the
eventual nominee John McCain, receiving 18 percent of the vote.

The congressman has become known for his strong Libertarian
streak, which at times puts him at odds with his opponents and
much of the Republican support base. But it’s exactly these
unorthodox political positions, like his support for marijuana
[3] and
opposition to most foreign military intervention, which
 make him popular with younger voters. A December Gallup[4] poll
showed Paul’s strongest base of support is among voters in the
18-34 age range. And his staunch support for civil liberties
has appeal across the political spectrum, drawing in some
otherwise left-leaning voters.

Paul also holds many positions more often associated with
current American conservatism. He opposes abortion and supports
overturning Roe v. Wade—from a conviction that states ought to
have the ability to decide abortion legislation. Paul has also
[5] federal
student loans, arguing that education is an individual, not
governmental responsibility.

With his message of small-government conservatism, anti-war
foreign policy and civil liberties advocacy, Paul commands an
energetic and devoted following who rock Ron Paul merchandise
and maintain active fan pages dedicated to his support. But
commentators from organizations including the Washington
[6] and
ABC[7] have
noted that Paul may have a “support ceiling,” above which his
approval numbers have yet to rise.



Tags: featured[8]


  1. ^ Politico
  2. ^ Polling last in Florida
  3. ^ marijuana legalization
  4. ^ Gallup
  5. ^ spoken against
  6. ^ Washington Post
  7. ^ ABC
  8. ^ featured

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Ron Paul receives enthusiastic support during speech at USM

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