PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Ron Paul visited a caucus site about 45 minutes south of Seattle that had lines wrapped outside and across the parking lot here on the day of Washington state's caucus. Organizers said this year there were four times as many people attending the caucus.
When Paul arrived he was asked by a local reporter what he would tell the people who came out to caucus, Paul wryly responded, “Vote for Ron Paul.”
Paul went inside and greeted caucus goers who were waiting in line and walked into the caucus room where Republicans were seated by precinct. The Texas congressman posed for pictures, shook hands and discussed his foreign policy with two different men in the audience, one of them a veteran, who seemed receptive to his ideas. Some caucusgoers could be heard saying, even though they weren’t voting for Paul, it was nice that he visited their community.
When he asked an event organizer how long he had to speak, the man replied, typically it’s 3 minutes for surrogates, but they would give him 5 minutes, since he was a presidential candidate. Paul responded that his staff would let him know when to wrap up and that his speech was, “more or less to say hello.”
“I understand the crowd is very large today compared to before,” Paul opened his speech by saying. “I hope that is good news for our campaign!”
He emphasized the importance of the caucuses and what he believed the ultimate results should be.
“This is an important day," Paul said. "It’s an important day for our country; it’s an important day for your community; it’s an important day for next year’s election; it’s an important day to start the process to make sure that we no longer have Obama [as] president next year.”
Paul went on to say Republican candidates have some disagreements, but could all agree that “it’s a good idea to get rid of our current president and put in a Republican.”
Describing how the Republican Party strayed from its stated goals of limited government and deficit reduction, Paul told the crowd that has caused voters to be “frustrated.”
The Air Force veteran said the country is failing in it’s responsibility of national defense and of taking care of veterans. He also detailed his support from active duty military personnel and stated the reasons he believes they support his candidacy.
“The military knows exactly the fruitlessness of some of these wars that are going on," he said.
Paul closed his speech by acknowledging how the Republican Party is looking for a candidate that can beat President Obama and told them about a recent poll showing him beating Obama in a hypothetical race (though he didn't specify which that is. Most polling has him losing to President Obama and handily).
“I hope you remember that and I’d like to have your support. Thank you very much.”
As he walked to his vehicle in the parking lot, Paul responded to a question by NBC News on how he felt about the reception he received.
“I felt very good about it," he said. "A lot of enthusiasm there, delighted to have a large crowd, delighted they had a lot of Ron Paul stickers, too.”
Paul will hold a caucus results party at 7:00 pm ET at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center at Pier 66 in downtown Seattle, where he hopes to celebrate his first victory of the GOP nominating process.