ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Ron Paul took his presidential campaign here yesterday to Michele Bachmann’s congressional district in Minnesota, a non-early nominating state. Paul got a big ovation from about 3,000 attendees on what was the first day of deer-hunting season.
“Boy, what a nice reception,” Paul told the crowd. “It got my attention. It sure identifies the fact the revolution is alive and well.”
It’s all part of Paul’s unorthodox focus on caucus states in an effort to rack up delegates in places other campaigns might not be focusing, a senior Paul campaign source says.
Raising money and organization were both part of the event, where Paul hit many of his usual talking points on foreign and domestic policy. Minnesota Campaign Chair Marianne Stebbins was on stage asking the crowd for donations -- each seat in the Convention Center had envelopes in a "goody bag" for supporters to mail donations. The bag also included Paul campaign literature and a bumper sticker.
Stebbins then asked for people to volunteer in district offices, to make phone calls, and to help get voters to attend the caucus on Election Day, Feb. 7. In 2008, Mitt Romney won the GOP Minnesota caucus with 41% of the vote, followed by John McCain with 22%, Mike Huckabee with 20% and Ron Paul with 16%.
This is the third time in the last six weeks (in three different states), where more than 1,000 supporters have attended a Ron Paul campaign rally -- on Sept. 23 in Baton Rouge, LA, where the campaign says “more than 1,300 Louisiana State University students, supporters, and community members” attended; and on Oct. 21 in Iowa City, IA, where more than 1,200 “members of the University of Iowa and general community” attended an event during homecoming weekend.
Paul once again seemed to sympathize with Anwar al-Awlaki -- an al Qaeda-linked, but American-born Muslim cleric -- killed in a Drone strike in Yemen, calling his death an assassination.
“We have so little respect for the rule of law, whether it’s domestically or internationally,” Paul charged. “We have become known as a country that endorses torture, don’t pay attention to habeas corpus, we have secret prisons around the world. … We now have an announced policy by this president that this is legitimate policy to assassinate American citizens. No charges made no trial, the president himself becomes the prosecution, the judge the jury and the executioner.”
Paul went further, telling the crowd about Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahm al-Awlaki, who was also killed in a separate Drone attack.
“That wasn’t enough,” Paul said of killing the elder al-Awlaki. “They thought his son was much involved and therefore a week or so later they sent another cruise missile, drone attack, they bombed and killed his son, Awlaki’s son. … They don’t talk about this case…. The kid was 16-years-old, was in the backyard barbequing with a friend of his. He was never charged. … What we must worry about is the rule of law, because it protects us and that has to be protected.”
Paul ended his speech by citing one of the Founding Fathers, Samuel Adams, and his belief that it does not take a majority to prevail.
“We need an irate, tireless minority willing to stand up and spread the brushfires of freedom in the minds and hearts of the American people,” Paul thundered. “And I believe that is what is happening; our time has arrived.”