Ron Paul Fans Stay Committed After Colorado
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
In yesterday's three Republican contests, Congressman Ron Paul had one relatively bright spot, and that was in Minnesota.
REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL: And believe it or not, we did very well tonight and have a very, very strong second place, and it's going to continue.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
SIEGEL: Even so in Minnesota, Paul was still 18 points behind Rick Santorum, who won the Minnesota caucuses. He polled 12 percent in Colorado, where he came in fourth, and also 12 percent in Missouri, where he finished third in a nonbinding primary. The Texas congressman has yet to win a single state, and his nomination appears to be somewhere between inconceivable and impossible, but his supporters seem utterly unfazed. We'll ask a couple of them what success looks like to them. And so I'm joined now by two Ron Paul supporters, both caucused for the congressman last night. Christa Leonard is from Corcoran, Minnesota. She's a stay-at-home mother of eight children and a delegate to the Republican state convention. Welcome to the program, Ms. Leonard.
CHRISTA LEONARD: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And Ken Stanton joins us from Fort Collins, Colorado. He's a post-doctoral fellow at Colorado State University. He volunteers as the assistant coordinator for the Ron Paul campaign in Larimer County. Ken Stanton, good to have you with us.
DR. KEN STANTON: Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.
SIEGEL: Let me ask first Ms. Leonard and then Ken Stanton. We often hear that for the Paul camp it's as much a movement as a campaign. If that is the case for you, how do you briefly, in a nutshell, sum up what the movement is for?
LEONARD: I would have to say that the movement transpires not just for our current situation, but it proceeds on toward the generations that follow.
SIEGEL: Ken Stanton, what do you say to that question?
STANTON: Well, you know, Dr. Paul has said from the beginning that, you know, his - the strongest part of his campaign is the message of liberty and of constitutional government, a constitutional-limited government. And, you know, back in 2008, he was hardly known. He was almost laughed off the stage at debates. Yet now, he's garnering 10 percent and more of support from voters across the country. So the message is absolutely winning. And, you know, personally, my position on this is that regardless of whether he wins the campaign and wins the presidency or not, the message has gotten out, and a lot of people have gotten active, I think largely because this message of liberty really resonates with people better than this left versus right kind of attitude, the conservative versus liberal is rather that what we share, in a lot of ways, is what brings us together.
SIEGEL: But when you say he's winning, I mean, one can also say, look, a glass that's 12 percent full is awfully empty. And I've heard it said that success nowadays would be to be able to influence the convention. What is something that could happen that would make you feel this is a change in our politics that happens because of what we did this year?
STANTON: Well, you know, it sounds crazy to ask government to do this, but to ask within their powers limited by the Constitution and defined in the Constitution would put us all back on the right platform to begin with. The fact that they've overstretched their bounds has created problems for us in every single imaginable sector from education to economy to sound money, you know, all the way down to just your everyday life and how we can't even walk around in our own neighborhoods without feeling like our neighbors might be watching us and being suspicious of us because Department of Homeland Security said: You know, watch out, your neighbors might be your terror - the next terrorists.
SIEGEL: Well, there are a couple of things you've mentioned - the gold standard, the Department of Homeland Security. Christa, are those important issues for you? Would you like to see them addressed in a GOP platform?
LEONARD: Yes. Return of the gold standard, bring our military back to guard our own borders, not police the world. It is draining our finances. It is depleting our resources. And we do not have the means to sustain that.
SIEGEL: I'd just like to hear from both of you. If the primary caucus season continues at this rate and every other week Congressman Paul polls 12 percent someplace, never wins, on occasion comes in second but usually finishes third or if Newt Gingrich has managed to get on the ballot, fourth in these contests.
Do you - is your enthusiasm at all dimmed at all by that? I mean, at some point, do you say, well, we should have won something. We should have been able to get a majority of a caucus of some state and this is not working. Ken Stanton, I gather from the chuckle, no is the answer.
STANTON: Well, first and foremost, there are questions all across the country of, are these votes being tampered with? What really matters are the delegates who go to the national convention in August. Dr. Paul has actually got a great deal of delegates moving forward at this point.
SIEGEL: You're saying, don't believe the official numbers. Don't believe the official results.
STANTON: Well, I mean, there are no official numbers on delegates at this point.
SIEGEL: Right, right.
STANTON: Any caucus state, Iowa, you know, Colorado, Nevada. There are no results. You don't know who won the delegate spots or who's going to end up being at the national convention, so nobody knows that.
LEONARD: I have to agree with what he was saying because even in the Minnesota caucus last night that we participated in, yes, Santorum did come out first, but in our personal caucus room, who ended up walking out with the delegate nominees were more Ron Paul supporters than anyone, than any other candidate.
SIEGEL: Well, thanks to both of you for talking about Ron Paul and his campaign and what you think about it.
LEONARD: Thank you.
STANTON: Yeah. Thank you for having us.
SIEGEL: The two Ron Paul supporters we've heard from are Ken Stanton of Fort Collins, Colorado and Christa Leonard of Corcoran, Minnesota. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.