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Hey, Ron Paul folks, Rudy Giuliani pays tribute to your guy

January 30, 2008 |  2:24 am

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been on the, uh, naughty list of all loyal, dedicated, fervent and vocal supporters of Rep. Ron Paul since he appeared to scoff at the Texan during one of the early Republican debates last year, gave a formal tipRonpaul_jv6o8enc_2 of the hat to the good doctor during his Florida concession speech last night.

As one result of that debate incident, which involved Giuliani taking offense at Paul's suggestion that Americans were at least partly responsible for 9/11 by their occupation and offensive actions against Arab countries, some Paulunteers have hounded many of Giuliani's public appearances with chants and sign-waving throngs. And they have often filled the comment section of The Ticket with scores of denunciations of the man who successfully turned life in New York City around.

These thousands have also reveled in the several times that Paul drew more primary or caucus votes than Giuliani in early states where the New Yorker did not seriously compete, starting with....

Iowa. Many will no doubt delight now in the expected end to Giuliani's campaign later today followed by his anticipated endorsement of Sen. John McCain. Ron Paul, on the other hand, has the endorsement of THE Jane Roe, is working on Tom McClintock. and has launched an eight-state ad blitz including California.

But Tuesday night as he was preparing to bow out, as first reported on the Ticket Monday noon, Giuliani gave a gracious concession speech in which he listed all of his Republican competitors and called them good men.

He added Ron Paul on the end, smiling, and said after all the debates he'd go back to his hotel room and watch television and how every time, according to the texted tallies, Ron Paul won all the debates, much, he did not say, thanks to the determined voting of his many busy-fingered followers. "Ron Paul won every debate!" Giuliani said.

Alas for Paul's followers, who have given many millions to his campaign treasury,--nearly $3.8 million so far this month, according to his website -- Ron Paul, a 72-year-old, 10-term House member who ran for president previously on the Libertarian ticket in 1988, did not win in Florida. In fact, Paul came in fifth, dead-last, well behind even Giuliani and Mike Huckabee.

In fact, the former ob-gyn received only about 3% of the vote, way less than 100,000 votes, which was about what pre-election polls measured as his support in the Sunshine State and what Paul supporters will argue was caused by a mainstream media conspiracy to run those fraudulent polls, to under-report Paul's support and to minimize his chances.

Under Florida winner-take-all rules, McCain now takes the state's 57 delegate votes at next summer's Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

So tonight's Republican debate at the Reagan Library near Simi Valley, co-sponsored by The Times and live-streamed here on this website at 5 p.m. Pacific, will likely have only four surviving Republicans -- McCain, Paul, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Paul will be the strict constitutionalist who opposes the Iraq war and proposes to slash the federal government. Chances are, he will be given less time to speak than the other three.

On CNN last evening Wolf Blitzer went way out on a limb about the future of the Republican race going into Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. He boldly predicted that the results next week were "anybody's guess."

And you can take that to the bank.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo: Richard Sheinwald / Bloomberg News

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