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Breaking News: Ron Paul gives up the race, but not The Revolution

March 6, 2008 | 11:11 pm

Please sit down to read this.

We are very sorry to be the blog that breaks this news to you. But it's our job. Many of you will be saddened, even dRep Ron Paul of Texas says goodbye to the GOP presidential race leaving only John McCain of Arizona as the winner and Republican nomineeevastated, to learn this. Others will say, "What?" or "Who's he?"

But Rep. Ron Paul, whom we've affectionately come to call the Libertarian-like, 10-term, 72-year-old Republican representative from Texas, appears to be -- this is so hard to write -- if not quitting, then almost certainly sort of stopping his race for the Republican nomination for president. Probably.

It's true. No fooling here.

There, it's out. In a special message to supporters late tonight, the congressman, who Tuesday won an overwhelming 70:30 primary victory to continue representing Texas' 14th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, doesn't actually...

use the word "quit" or "stop" or "halt" or "surrender" or "give up" or "forfeit" or "walk away" or "submit" or "retire" or "abandon" or "cease" or "resign."

And, for unexplained reasons, he does urge "loyal volunteers" to keep up the struggle to gain delegates to the GOP convention in September, although John McCain already has acquired more than enough to win the nomination. Paul sounds rather like the general who got safely off the island radioing back to his stranded troops to keep up the good fight.

But it sure sounds like a farewell message that will be a big relief to McCain. Paul says things like: "The presidential campaign will soon wind down." And: "I will continue to make every effort to visit states where enthusiasm for liberty exists."

And also: "While victory in the conventional political sense is unavailable in the presidential race, many victories have been achieved due to your hard work and enthusiasm. For that I am deeply grateful and encouraged."

In a seven-minute, 38-second video, Paul also says: "We must remember that elections are short-term efforts. Revolutions are long-term projects." He says his campaign, which followers won't admit was hopeless from the beginning, was "a significant first step" in launching what many followers called the Ron Paul Revolution.

This would involve a radical downsizing of the federal government, an end to threats to personal liberties such as the Patriot Act, bringing all U.S. troops home, a strict interpretation of the Constitution and abolition of the Federal Reserve that prints too much money.

Although largely ignored by most media -- Fox News even barred Paul from a New Hampshire debate although he had already beaten Rudy Giuliani in the Iowa caucuses -- Paul's campaign was intriguing to The Ticket for its grassroots power and spontaneity and the involvement of many earnest people new to the political process. Because a few people claiming to be Paul supporters prowled the Internet around the clock leaving crude messages and threats IN BIG LETTERS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION MARKS !!!! AND YOU K*** W*** WORDS AND MISPILNGS, Paulunteers got a reputation as a bunch of loonies.

But with little national organization, thousands of sincere supporters coalesced into some 1,400 diligent meet-up groups for discussion, door-to-door campaigning, letter-writing, sign-painting and, above all, fund-raising in a dedicated effort to work within the political system despite what they saw as biased media. They made a music video and some female Paulunteers even got mostly-undressed to pose for a Ron Paul pinup calendar.

Paul did capture some fourth, fifth and second places, including the Nevada, Maine and Montana Republican caucuses. But he was dissed by fellow GOP candidates and got noticeably less speaking time in debates, which the grandfatherly former OB/GYN quietly accepted. Still, Paul lasted longer in the GOP White House race than any of those better-known rich guys who were supposed to be front-runners.

In the third quarter of 2007, Paul raised $5 million, five times what Mike Huckabee collected. And in the fourth quarter, Paul raised nearly $20 million, more than any other Republican, including gazillionaire Mitt Romney. Paul's website boasts collecting another $6.15 million this quarter.

Paul said he has formed Liberty PAC to support like-minded candidates around the country. "I don't mind playing a key role in The Revolution," Paul said tonight. "But it has to be more than a Ron Paul Revolution." He suggested "a cadre of hard-core believers is the key to success."

Paul said for legal reasons his campaign could not sponsor a much-discussed march on Washington this summer to demonstrate their numbers, but he might attend if someone else organized it and suggested June 21 was a good date.

He also spoke of "a society slipping into chaos" and cited the ongoing financial turmoil as evidence to back up his denunciation of the Federal Reserve. "We live in dangerous and exciting times," the shirt-sleeved Paul said, cracking his familiar straight face. "The dollar crisis will certainly see the decline of the American empire. And that is no small event."

In his message, Paul urged followers to continue the struggle, adding: "Today's events should be seen as a tremendous opportunity to change our country for the good."

--Andrew Malcolm

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