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Ron Paul scales back hopeless effort, refuses to back McCain

He's not really quitting. He's not really suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He's not promising victory, just to keep on keeping on. But, in effect, Rep. Ron Paul, at 72 the oldest candidate for president and the only GOP candidate to oppose the Iraq war, is facing reality.

In a statement to supporters on his website, first mentioned here early Saturday, Paul admits, "With Romney gone, the chances of a brokered convention are nearly zero. But that does not affect my determination to fight on, in every caucus and primary remaining and at the convention for our ideas, with just as many delegates as I can get." In a new 14-minute campaign video, Paul says he wants to clarify some confusion

His campaign currently claims a total of 42, 1,149 shy of the total to win and some 650 behind the GOP leader, though other estimates give him only 16. He took third in Washington over the weekend and fourth in Kansas behind even Mitt Romney, who'd dropped out. Even if he won every delegate still available, Paul could not capture the party's nomination in September in St. Paul, which is no relation.

Despite ridicule by other GOP candidates, despite getting significantly less time to speak during debates and, in one instance, even being barred from a GOP debate by Fox News although....

he'd collected more votes than those included, Paul repeated his vow not to attempt a third-party bid, which would drain priceless conservative votes from the party's nominee. "I am a Republican," he said, "and I remain a Republican." He did say he'd be reducing staff and offices.

Now, whether the 10-term congressman with the libertarian ideals, actually endorses Sen. John McCain is something else. Paul has said we should bring overseas troops home and invest the saved money in fixing America; McCain has vowed to stay overseas, especially Iraq, as long as it takes for success.

This morning Paul told one of our sister newspapers, "I cannot support anybody with the foreign policy he advocates, you know, perpetual war," said Paul. "That is just so disturbing to me."

In his website statement, Paul then alludes to probably the largest factor for his refocused campaign: He's trying to run simultaneously for president and his House seat in Texas' 14th Congressional District and faces a challenger in the March 4 primary, Chris Peden, a city councilmen from Friendswood. So Paul will be on two ballots that day.

"If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat," he said, "all our opponents would react with glee, and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas. I cannot and will not let that happen." In a new 14-minute campaign video, Paul says he needs to clarify confusion over his dropping out, that he is just altering his schedule to allow primary campaigning in his home district and he intends to compete fully in all remaining primaries and on to the convention.

Although largely ignored as irrelevant by many media outlets, though not The Ticket, the story of Ron Paul and his thousands of determined, sometimes aggressive, usually good-natured followers is one of the more interesting of the current election season.

Virtually spontaneously, disaffected Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and newcomers to the political process began gathering around the plain-spoken Paul last summer and with their nearly $20 million in smaller donations turned him into the most successful GOP fundraiser in the last quarter. On one day he raised $6 million online and was the only Republican to increase his contributions in every quarter of 2007.

With some 1,400 meet-up groups across the country, letter-writing and sign-waving campaigns and creative publicity stunts, they helped Paul to some second, fourth and fifth place finishes in states such as Nevada, Montana and Maine. He beat Rudy Giuliani in Iowa and Fred Thompson in New Hampshire and financed an eight-state advertising campaign.

His boosters, who worked the Internet assiduously to right wrongs and make Paul's case, maintain that a corporate-media conspiracy to ignore him prevented the former ob-gyn from getting his less-government message out to most Americans. He certainly was ignored and, only recently, included when providing poll results on TV. But additionally, his strict constitutionalist ideas for reducing the federal government and abolishing the IRS and Federal Reserve Bank and returning to the gold standard may be just too radical for a country today facing international terrorist threats and the current economic uncertainty.

Even the tone of hundreds of comments left here by Paul supporters changed in recent days from aggressive advocacy to reluctant acceptance of the disappointing reality of continued single-digit poll results.

It would be interesting if those supporters took the time here now to leave comments explaining why they think Paul never caught on to a wider audience (we already know about the media conspiracy) and what they think about his refocused campaign and their spent donations.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Ron Paul touched people from one side, to the other of this country. He brought attention to our Empirical conquest of the globe. The legality of the private non government IRS. The need for our government to be paying interest on the money the treasury creates?-to a private bank Chase Manhattan AKA The Fed or the world bank. For the first time in a century a candidate has approached real issues that could change the world given time and support. Best money I ever spent. Thank YOU Ron Paul

Ron Paul shut out by the mainstream media and his own party in favor of John "bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran" McCain...

...this country is about to (yet again) get exactly the government it deserves. Damned fools.

Sorry, folks. But Ron Paul wouldn't know the Constitution, or the Founders, if they came up and handed him a copy and forced him to read it aloud to them.

These self-proclaimed hyper-patriots who claim to know the minds of the Founders and what THEY would have done in our time are full of crap.

The Constitution created a strong National Government, gave broad powers to the Congress to tax, included broad clauses like "promote the general Welfare" and coerced (in the words of Hamilton) the states into the Union to pay Federal taxes. THAT was the intention of the Founders.

That the Founders also sought to restrict the Federal government's size was obvious from their actions, notably the adoption of 10 amendments. But this should not be misconstrued as to imply that they wanted a perpetually weak Federal government. Far from it. They simply wanted a strong, GOOD one to replace the makeshift one the Articles of Confederation had created.

The underlying problem is that Libertarians wish they could abandon all laws, an inherently flawed notion that is borne out in even a cursory study of human nature.

Listening to modern Libertarians, it's clear that they have forgotten many, many lessons of the early Republic, including the desperate failure of the Articles of Confederation, which allowed each state and individual to run rampant without a national government. It was a disaster.

But if the Paulites were actually emulating and pushing for a return to the Articles of Confederation - which was damned near social and political anarchy, something they advocate for today's society - at least they would be consistent.

F HillBillary
F Obama
F Juan Mccain
F all the NWO stooges

Go Ron Paul!!!

I'm not legally able to vote yet, but I will come November-- it's the same case perhaps for many.

The exclusion of Dr. Paul, even recently where I'm from, from major media coverage media plays a big role for his campaign sailing through with only single digits. I hear often that people still have efficacy about this nation's government— that everything is corrupt and biased, but rarely hear a call for change-- I mean, real change.

It's very important to understand that whether we would like to agree to it or not, it's the people who go out and vote that say they'll vote for the popular person just to say they were a part of the solution, but honestly, little research is done on their part. People are still choosing from the "lesser evil" and picking candidates out by, for example: how photogenic they are. My journalism teacher said he wouldn’t vote for him because he thought, “Paul doesn’t sound like a president’s name.”

It’s true that most people who aren’t voting for Barrack Obama call him on his “empty” plan for change, but the truth is, this country doesn’t want that big of a change. It’s the fact that Dr. Ron Paul is really challenging the institution of our current government that his campaign has failed so badly, he’s too radical and sporadic, especially with his passionate speeches. Other than the general media bias: companies not listing Paul, not interviewing Paul, excluding Paul from debates, or excluding Paul from phone polls, he is the real advocate for the biggest change and our country just can’t stand revolution anymore. (In the end, most of us would see Paul running with Obama because of their similarities, but Paul’s views on Civil Rights seem much more unified and equal than Obama’s.)

It may be that freedom isn’t as popular as Paulites thought, or that he hasn’t been running on any gimmicks like Obama with his articulate blackness or McCain with his… weird arm thing that he does… Besides that however, it’s easy to say that this nation isn’t seeking change when they’ve voted Bush Jr. Jr.x2 as the frontrunner for the Republican party—gunho America, peace for those “protect” it.

For those who pity Paulites or the matters in which they hold dear, understand that we as a whole understand that Ron Paul’s administration or any that follow, may never meet the strive for freedom as much to us as it has our fore fathers, but for us however, the choice will always be “Liberty or Death.”

Jeancarlo Taveras
Hallandale, Florida

In my opinion the Republican Party needs to wake up. I believe the only way that Americans will vote for a republican candidate in November is if he is Ron Paul. Ron Paul's ideas have caught on...long before Ron Paul was even a factor. Ron Paul's ideas came to the authors of our great Constitution. Unfortunately there isn't another candidate that seems to hold that Constitution in the same high regard as Ron Paul. If they did then we would be voting for the candidate with the most appeal. The majority of the people in this country want our freedoms & rights restored. But the mainstream media won't hear of that. Why on earth they seem to covet one world government, socialism and liberalism I will never understand. But "We the People" seems to be ignored by big brother and the main stream media. I have supported Ron Paul's campaign as many "little people" have and I do not regret it at all. I wish I had more to give and I pray that Americans will wake up before it is too late. I will weep for America if Clinton, Obama or McCain are put in office, but I will never regret standing up for and giving what I can to Ron Paul for President.
Sandy Thompson

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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