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Teen's Ron Paul sign brings tickets and large fine

Cody Hauer is one very committed fan of Rep. Ron Paul, one of three remaining candidates in the Republican presidential race.

So committed is Cody to Ron Paul that the 18-year-old faces at least $550 in fines for displaying his prized Ron Paul decal on his car. He says his First Amendment free speech rights allow him to do this.

"I support Ron Paul," Hauer says. "The city police department doesn't. They gave me a ticket for DWR -- Driving While Republican."

But Police Chief Shaun LaDue of Owatonna, Minn. says the four....

and counting tickets have nothing to do with politics or the 72-year-old Texas congressman with the libertarian ideals and numerous grandchildren, who this week made former governor Mitt Romney only the latest big-name Republican he's knocked out of the GOP presidential race.

In a statement late Friday night, Paul virtually conceded he would not win the GOP nomination, but vowed to fight on for his campaign's ideas, while simultaneously campaigning against a congressional primary challenge in his home district. 

"The political aspect of this doesn't enter into the equation at all," the unsuspecting chief told the Associated Press. "It's very clear in state statute that you cannot have anything that obstructs the driver's vision."

It seems that Hauer, like thousands of other Ron Paul supporters all over the country, regards it as his holy duty to persuade others to vote for his candidate in this heated primary season. Ron Paul signs are the preferred weapon of choice in this political sales endeavor. But decals are also acceptable as long as they're huge.

So Hauer has displayed a 13-by-40-inch "Ron Paul Revolution" decal on the rear window of his car, which he's been driving around the frigid streets of Owatonna hoping by his passing presence to convince voters to support his candidate. This makes great sense to dedicated legions of Ron Paul supporters, who've been known to stand on interstate bridges for hours at a time waving Ron Paul signs at motorists passing beneath.

However, it has been the interpretation of four Owatonna city police officers so far that the giant decal could be for the Minnesota Vikings for all they care, but it obstructs Hauer's rear vision. Obstructed rear vision is not an unusual charge to be leveled against libertarians.

But, it seems, Hauer also displays another trait common to Ron Paul supporters: The willingness to argue, often IN CAPITAL LETTERS, with anyone anytime anywhere at any length about the pressing need to elect Ron Paul president and return this country to a STRICT interpretation of the Constitution before EVERYthing goes down the toilet, which it is already well on its way to doing, in their determined opinion.

Such determination and dedication have caused Paul supporters to donate nearly $5.4 million to his cause so far this year, which is more money even than Sen. Hillary Clinton has loaned herself.

Additionally Paulunteers gave nearly $20 million to the campaign during the fourth quarter of last year alone, making Paul the most successful fundraiser in the then-larger GOP field and the only one to increase his donations during each quarter of 2007.

The 10-term congressman faces an uphill struggle to catch Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for his party's nomination. So far, Paul's campaign claims about 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention in September just up the road from Owatonna in St. Paul, which is not named for the congressman. This delegate total, as we reported Friday, puts Paul only about 660 delegates behind McCain and barely 1,149 short of snatching the party nomination.

Which is what adds to the sense of urgency felt by Hauer and his fellow Paul supporters, who prowl the Internet at all hours looking for ways to press Paul's cause and combat abundant injustices to Dr. Paul and the campaign, including being regularly cheated out of debate time.

They will be flocking to this blog item any minute now to leave their outraged comments about such police tactics and the ongoing anti-Ron Paul media conspiracy that will effectively ignore and smother the spread of news concerning the about-to-be-infamous Owatonna Outrage almost everywhere but here.

Apparently, Hauer feels compelled to share this outrage and sense of urgency with every ticketing officer. "He talks himself into a citation every time," Chief LaDue points out.

Hauer says he intends to argue in court that the state statute is overridden by his right to free speech. "To be honest," the teen confesses, "I'm probably not going to win." But, he adds, in the true spirit of the Ron Paul Revolution, "I'm going to go down fighting."

If anyone needs any more information on the Hauer case, the police chief's e-mail is: [email protected]  However, those sharing e-mail communications with him should remember while crafting their traceable messages that, unlike many bloggers, police chiefs CARRY GUNS. 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Come on, get "objective" and stop taking cheap shots at Ron Paul and his many supporters. After all, he is not in favor of more war (e.g., McCain), nor in favor of a Nanny State (e.g. Huckabee). Do you want this? We don't. .Does it come as a surprise that there are still Ron Paul people out there? One reason is that we are tired of a media which has done all it can to marginalize this candidate. IBut, thanks to the law of unintended consequences, the media has actually, by such shameful tactics, added greatly to the public awareness of Ron Paul... sorry.

I like many things about Ron Paul. But we ARE at war and cannot be an isolationist nation in this world of ICBMs. I cannot vote for him with his anti-war stance.

Oh Andrew, how us Ron Paul supporters love you. You and your fine organization are the pinnacle of journalistic integrity. Condescend to us more. Please.

The Ron Paul supporters are giving a little spice to this year's election season. May they continue on their quixotic quest.

If he were pulling a trailer, or just had stuff piled in his back seat, he wouldn't be able to see out his rear view window either. But why doesn't he put the sign on a car-top carrier instead? More people would see it anyway.

while the allusion to former presidential ambitions of ron paul then thwarted with active support of the media might seem funny, the relentless activity of the people of various backgrounds and all ages to support ron paul's campaign is hardly due to an obstructed rear vision, but to the crystal clear foresight and insight into what exactly is at stake for the american republic at this time.
also, it appears that the attempt to show the movement (that those who support ron paul's cause to restore the american constitution and take back america for the people lovingly call the 'ron paul revolution') as an immature prank of playful youths, led and perhaps unwittingly led on by a kindly and vaguely childish grandfatherly man not to be taken all too seriously, might soon turn out to be lacking both hindsight and foresight.
ron paul delivers the truth. the truth can set free.

" "He talks himself into a citation every time," Chief LaDue points out. "

What the hell is that?! How can someone "talk himself into a citation" if the citation is to be awarded on something objective like whether a sign is blocking rearward vision?

That statement from the Chief PROVES (Yes, Andrew, note the capitals) that this is a political ticket.

The young man should fight this all the way to the Supreme Court, and use you as his witness. I hope you took good notes, or taped, the interview with the Chief.

The r3V0Lution won't let this young man swing. If he starts a chip-in for the funds, it'll be filled in a blink. I sure know I would contribute towards him fighting this.

Well at least you didn't twist and claim he's quit the race like many other news outlets have. It's sad how society is so unprepared to deal with people like Ron Paul who don't lie, cheat and steal. Ron Paul, unlike these other hacks is a legit statesman. He's been around the block - and knows McCain will probably put his foot even further down his own throat than it already is, and the other guy is, well, a minister - so that's not going anywhere. It's a fight for the party, and I'll say it again, the Republican party has left us (no pun intended), and Ron Paul. We're trying to get it back to its core principals of conservatism and Constitutional governance. This is not an imaginary need as you've alluded, it's deadly serious as the NAU and other globalist schemes bring our nation to the brink of failure.

The campaign said today "The presidential campaign is not ending, not being suspended, and not even drawing down. It’s slimming down and ramping up — with over twenty states having already voted, we’ve shed staff, and we’re concentrating financial and organization resources on the remaining states. We’re going to the convention, and we’re fighting for every vote and every National Delegate along the way."

Fight on Ron Paul!

If ever a visual medium could match newspapers it would be the internet. Yet as a newspaper on the internet you fail to show a picture of the offending sign. Are you people simply dim or actively insuring you own demise by failing to be visual.

(Alas, the youngster and a local photographer cut an exclusive deal and sold the photo exclusively elsewhere. So the strict constitutionalist free enterprise system remains alive. Thanks for asking. Oh, wait, you didn't ask. Nevermind.)

Isn't it wonderful that this young man, a teen, is so excited about this election. Dr. Paul has infused enthusiasm into our youth, and that is a very good thing. He has caused the young Americans to love their constitution and understand it. He has taught them through this election process the workings of Government but unfortunately they have also seen how the Media has tried to bar this good man's message in the most un-American way I have ever seen. I hope they are not to discouraged by what they see but committed to right the wrongs that they see. Thank you Dr. Paul for being such a brave and dedicated American. God Bless You.

Hi...I had no problem with any part of your article, you actually pointed out several aspects of the campaign that the MSM ignores, mainly that Ron Paul is one the the three Republican candidates left (Not like NBC that two nights after Romney dropped out still had his picture displayed as one of the "3 left", not Ron Paul.

Anyway, your last sentence was so ridiculous, it inadvertently, by you, revealed what a police state we live actually buy into that why we should not e-mail this police chief, because he CARRIES GUNS ? (sorry for the all-caps, I was just copying how you wrote it)...I agree with the police chief that a sign that size in the rear window is unsafe, but I don't agree we should be afraid of complaining if something is unjust, simply because the police chief CARRIES GUNS....That's the kind of America you want to live in?

Of course there are wacky Ron Paul supporters who TYPE IN ALL CAPITALS. At least they care and can write, unlike lots of government-schooled Americans. You would do well to devote more attention to the more respected intellectuals who support Ron Paul. Instead of focusing on Ron Paul's opposition to the Iraq War, the MSM should look at his opposition to the Drug War: black-market heroin is now financing the Taliban's retaking of Afghanistan, turning Bush's greatest victory into another debacle. But do keep goading us--the continuing contempt of the MSM and the Republican Party motivates Ron Paul supporters to organize, and drives them into the arms of organizations like the Free State Project.

Here's a tip for you kid, go buy some kite string and grab a dozen or so empty soda cans. (pepsi & coke for best patriotic effect) Using bow knots, tie them loosely to your bumper at varying lengths, then let them rattle about and fly off as you drive through town (replace as needed). I don't know what the law states there, but up here, this allows you to write messages in large letters anywhere on your vehicle. The cans are your license to free expression. They also inherently eminate an audible warning to other drivers, keeping them alert and aware. You may still be pulled over by officer friendly due to his "liberal" interpretation of the law, and lack of understanding for liberty.
But at least you've given him something to think about as he fills his quota imposing trivial laws onto young voters and newlyweds in the name of "safety". It will also serve to clearly demonstrate the stupidity and triviality of the matter to a judge.
America: Wake up and pull the torch out of your mouth.
Jason Smith
Seattle, WA

Oh, so police in L.A. will shoot us over email? I guess that proves that we are no longer protected by the freedoms we thought we had.

One more reason to vote for Ron Paul. Thanks for the heads up!

Make fun, buddy!

(Wow, take your meds, pal. If I was a police officer ANYwhere and had said to me some of the threatening things Paul supporters have said in unpublished comments here, I'd be crazy not to at least have my hand on the gun. You gotta be real these days.)

This is exactly why I don't put a Ron Paul sticker on my car. I don't want to be harassed by statists. I don't put a yard sign on my house, because I don't want to draw attention to myself from the cops, housing inspectors, and other petty bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than harass their political enemies.

For a great satire on the president, the mainstream media, and the war on terror, see this YouTube music video from the international award-winning zombie musical feature film, "Song of the Dead." (' stars horror movie veteran Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Wishmaster, Bubba Ho-tep) as the president of the U.S. The filmmaker, Chip Gubera, is giving a share of his profits from DVD sales to the Ron Paul campaign. Go to:

We are at WAR, and if you think John MC, is going to help the USA in the War you are so wrong. We must go back to what the founding Fathers would have done. Iran nor Iraq Could have never hurt us, and they did not have a part in the 9-11 event. Our troops are sitting Ducks and our boarders are wide open. Our money supple is hurting. Our People are losing their Jobs. Our School are over run with Drugs. Our People are paying their house payments with credit Cards and some are buying grocery with Credit Cards. Only Ron Paul as the answers to these problems. Why Must try something different, Something New but which is really something Old. Tony M in NC

Actually, the teen has not violated any laws. According to California highway laws, so long as his car has side mirrors, he is not required to keep unobstructed vision though his back window.

Do your homework, Malcolm. You are supposed to be a professional journalist. And by the way, aren't you an American? If so, then why are you taking shots at those who support enforcing the Constitution? Presidents have to swear to "uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States..." Read Art. 1, Sect 8 and then tell us how any of the candidates (save Paul) are not already declaring their intent to violate that oath. Doesn't it bother you that they are thumbing their noses at our Constitution? ...your Constitution? Without any restrictions to their actions, no wonder our country is in the toilet!

And you call yourself a journalist!!! Ha!

(notice, no caps?)

I think someone should point out the fact that you don't NEED to have rear window view to drive. Lots of utility vans don't even have back windows. As long as you have your side mirrors, you should be fine.
Motorcycles don't have rear view mirrors. they do have side view mirrors.

I'm really curious to know how Ron Paul has been spending his millions in campaign donations and why he seems to be picking up so little support for them. Given his decision to maintain his seat in Congress, it almost makes you wonder if he's not playing a rather sophisticated trick on his supporters by milking money out of them for a campaign which he's already concluded is going nowhere.

USAF Vet Dan, your comments about California law are interesting but not applicable, since the teenager lives in Minnesota.

He may not have violated any CA laws, but this was in Minnesota. Only stickers allowed on back windows there are for Lake Woebegon. :)

Seriously, those MN cops are exercising bad subjective judgement. "Obstructed" is a matter of opinion when it comes to rear windows and driving. I've seen the photo of the guy's car. The decal in question is a white series of spaced letters that are on the glass. There is space in between them to see, and those decals are designed so that they are one-way decals--the driver looking back through his mirror sees the decals as transparent and can see right through them, but to the outside view they look solid--kind of like a one-way mirror. These MN cops are a little behind the techno-curve, to say the least. That, and any drivers' ed class worth anything teaches side-mirror-only driving as a basic.

And it is a First Amendment right since his car is his property and it is clearly political speech.

It should be ironically noted that a lot of cops support Dr. Paul because he recongize the War on Drugs is a failure, and they would like to get away from that and focus on real crime.

"I'm really curious to know how Ron Paul has been spending his millions in campaign donations and why he seems to be picking up so little support for them. Given his decision to maintain his seat in Congress, it almost makes you wonder if he's not playing a rather sophisticated trick on his supporters by milking money out of them for a campaign which he's already concluded is going nowhere."

Because the MSM doesn't allow his campaign message to be broadcast. 90% of the Sheeple need to be told who to vote for. The other 10% are smart enough to do some research.

Nice try on the campaign donations. He's the most honest man in Congress. He returns money every year. You could make that argument for any candidate. They don't all win. Where does the money go?

So this young man can't use his rear view side mirrors like all huge trucks do?

I think that the OWatonna Police officers have done nothing wrong...We have discretion each time we pull a car over and if someone has a poor attitude, he will for sure be getting a citation from me.

As far as the sticker, it is against the law and clearly wrote and explained in the state statutes. Hauer is just asking for more tickets expecially now that he is refusing to take the sticker off. I would book him in jail for failing to respond to his citation...

I assume the Owatonna, MN law, for which the young man was issued a traffic ticket, was created because it was deemed unsafe to operate an automobile with the rear window obstructed. My question is this - Why would the police department keep writing several tickets for the same vehicle and driver instead of impounding the vehicle upon the second violation if it is truly deemed unsafe to be on the streets? Does the city of Owatonna have a quota for writing tickets? Don't the officers communicate with each other? Who is running the show there? I'm sure the police chief knew what was going on and instructed the officers to keep writing the ambitious boy tickets until his driving priviledges would be taken away forever! My belief this young citizen's rights have been violated. What happens next?

This is a perfect example of the biased media and their quest to prove that Dr. Paul's supporters are agressive. We are passionate, for our american freedoms, our liberty, and want less government intervention in our lives. I would say that is perfectly reasonable and wouldn't want any person for president that can't follow the law of the land, our US constituion. ProPeace beats ProWar any, and every day! God bless you war mongers and ill informed shepple. Go to sleep now the media really is your best friend, and telling you everything important. (LOL)

If only he had side mirrors it probably wouldn't be an issue. But then there's the attitude thing......

I think it's important to remember that as Ron Paul supporters, we need to not only be aware of the travesty America has become, but also we need to be aware that most people's belief systems right now are based on the mainstream media, religion, and many other "weapons of mass distraction".....we really need to set an example. Being obnoxious, or speaking IN CAPITAL LETTERS is only going to insult and alienate.

Our cause is not only noble, but will benefit EVERYONE. The message gets distorted however, when the supporter uses abraisive "in your face" tactics, understandably so. Remember, Dr. Paul is not about force and control.

If we continue to grow, (and there's no reason to think we won't) the numbers soon will speak loud and clear:


Old I know, but who would you rather have running the country's economy right now Paul, Obama, or McCain?
Paul has been preaching this falling economy for 4+ years, and during the debates they made fun of him for wanting to bring the troops home. Soon they will be swimming home because we have no money.


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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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