- Ron Paul has risen from obscure presidential hopeful to national spokesman on libertarianism
- Paul speaks of the Republican Party in terms of “they” instead of “we”
- Last month’s trip to Iowa was his third to the state since November 2009
- “I don’t expect to be president … That doesn’t mean I won’t run,” Paul says
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) — When Rep. Ron Paul walked into Hy-Vee Hall last month, a single blue sign with a simple message was placed near the escalator that took him upstairs to a fundraiser attended by 300 Republican activists.
It read: “President Ron Paul 2012.”
The sign was symbolic in many ways: Even as Iowa Republicans are focused on midterm elections, the 2012 presidential contest is not far from their minds. And it was just three years ago that Paul did not receive an invitation to participate in a presidential candidate forum held in this very building.
The sight of the Texas congressman riding the escalator up to address this group of influential Republicans was illustrative of how he has risen from a little-known congressman and afterthought presidential candidate to the national spokesman on libertarian philosophy.
All of this comes from a man who has no illusions that he can win his party’s presidential nomination, but that won’t stop him from running again in 2012 if he decides to do so.
“It is probably hard to believe, but I look at it a little bit differently than others,” Paul said in an interview during his recent visit to Iowa. “I don’t expect to be president. I don’t expect to be. That doesn’t mean I won’t run for president, but I am really energized when I think we make inroads … to broaden the outreach on the philosophy I have been talking about for 40 years.”