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Ron Paul beats Giuliani but loses to Fox News

January 4, 2008 |  9:26 am

OK, he didn't get the third place that Ron Paul said he thought his campaign might reach in Iowa. He got fifth, 10%. Which, as we noted earlier, is better than the 4% that Rudy Giuliani got. But then like most Americans, Rudy didn't put that much effort into campaigning in Iowa.

The next big test comes Tuesday in New Hampshire, where the libertarian-like license plate -- Live Free or Die -- gives Paulunteers hope they might score an even larger surprise. Everybody except good ol' boy Fred Thompson has put serious efforts into the Granite state.

John McCain, who won New Hampshire in 2000, seems to be closing in on Mitt Romney there. Rudy is trying hard. If he can tear himself away from being on one national TV show after another, Iowa GOP caucus winner Mike Huckabee will campaign there. But without the large cadre of resident....

Christian evangelicals he had in Iowa, he's trailing and hanging on, hoping for Baptist help come South Carolina.

But before the Big Vote comes the Big Debate. Fox News has invited five famous Republicans to a modified house trailer for a televised debate Sunday. They did not invite Rep. Paul, which has infuriated many people and not all of them Paul supporters, as you may have read in hundreds of comments on this blog recently.

The Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire's major newspaper, ran a front-page editorial Thursday by its publisher, Joseph McQuaid, criticizing media that do not invite all serious candidates such as Paul because then it's big media and not regular New Hampshire voters making the decision. Fox doesn't return phone calls or e-mails seeking an explanation for excluding Paul, probably because it's very difficult to explain how you invite Giuliani, who's already lost one election to Paul, and the more-famous Thompson, who ran ahead of the lesser-known Paul in Iowa but trails him in New Hampshire polls.

And, frankly, Paul probably leads all Republicans in fourth-quarter fundraising with his nearly $20 million haul. But you won't be able to hear him on Fox Sunday where he would be the only Republican candidate to oppose the Iraq war, advocate pulling our troops home from all around the world to save money for domestic needs and slashing numerous federal departments.

While personally pro-life, Paul, an ob-gyn, would leave abortion or anti-abortion laws to the individual states as part of his strict constitutionalist approach. Paul's followers see the Fox News exclusion as part of a broader corporate conspiracy by the mainstream media to squelch the 72-year-old, 10-term Republican representative.

That doesn't explain how this item and this item and this item and this item, among many others, got into this blog. But that doesn't really matter because no one will hear Paul speak in the debate on Fox News Sunday. Fox says the trailer is too small for more candidates.

Ron Paul supporters have deluged feedback@foxnews.com with complaints. They are urging a boycott of all Fox advertisers and are exploring some kind of alternative event on Sunday. Maybe they could rent a larger trailer and invite Chris Wallace and the five famous Republicans over for a chat. And if those people don't show up, the Paul folks could set out empty chairs and pitch their own platform for the entire program.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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