Ron Paul speaks outside Republican convention
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Ron Paul continued his push for a speaking role at the Republican National Convention with an address Friday to supporters outside the Minnesota state convention.
Paul has continued his presidential bid despite Sen. John McCain’s status as the presumed nominee. With state GOP leaders refusing to allow him to speak inside the convention hall, Paul told about 400 supporters he was more concerned about spreading his libertarian message than preserving party unity.
“The campaign that is going on right now is the campaign for the freedom revolution, which is going to be going on for a very long time,” Paul told the crowd.
In a long speech, he criticized the Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy, argued that the Bush administration misled the U.S. into the war in Iraq and touted his strong opposition to federal spending, taxation and legalized abortion.
His Minnesota campaign failed in their attempt to use state convention rules to get some of his supporters seated among the state’s delegation to the national convention this summer in St. Paul, which they thought might have been a way to leverage a prominent speaking spot.
State Party Chairman Ron Carey said the national delegates chosen would all support McCain and that he doubted Paul’s supporters got any closer to their goal of getting him a speaking spot.
“I would think he’d advance his chances much more effectively if he’d get behind John McCain,” Carey said.
Paul’s supporters slowed convention activity to a crawl for much of Friday afternoon, trying and failing numerous times to win procedural votes and trying the patience of party leaders.
“You had your shot,” said former state representative Fran Bradley, who was chairing the convention. “What happened is the will of the majority and it’s time to move on.”
That irked Paul supporters who said they were victims of an undemocratic process. “We’ve been completely shut out of the process,” said Lara Witte, a Paul supporter from Savage.
Marianne Stebbins, Paul’s Minnesota campaign manager, said the decision over whether to let Paul speak at the national convention would fall to the Republican National Committee, who she said risked turning off many potential Republican voters if they don’t.
“He’s real. He’s honest,” said state convention alternate Jim VanDell, a retired auto dealership manager from Duluth. “His message is what’s needed in America to bring our country back to constitutional fundamentals.”
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