As the only remaining candidate in the Republican presidential primary who hasn’t won a state, Ron Paul is back out on the margins—and that’s probably where he likes it.
But How Far Out Is He Willing to Venture?
“I just don’t sit around daydreaming about (being in the White House),” Paul admitted once again at Monday night’s NBC News debate in Tampa, Florida, though he also highlighted his appeal to voters under thirty and his theoretical numbers head-to-head against President Obama.
He then had the following exchange with moderator Brian Williams:
WILLIAMS: “If Newt Gingrich emerges . . . as the nominee of the party, do you go your own way?”
PAUL: “Well, I’ve done a lot of that in my lifetime.”
WILLIAMS: “I should be more specific. Will you run as a third-party candidate?”
PAUL: “I have no plans to do that, no intention . . . but I haven’t been an absolutist, when I left Congress I didn’t have any plans on going back and I did after 12 years . . . so no, I don’t have any plans to do that, no.”
On Rand Paul’s TSA Run-in
Before the debate, Paul weighed in on the run-in that his son, Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul, had with Transportation Security Administration officials at the Nashville airport Monday.
At first Ron Paul’s Twitter account used the word “detained” to describe the younger Paul’s experience; by the time his campaign released an official statement, the verb was “inconvenienced,” but the rhetoric still hot:
The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.
Paul would attempt to do away with the TSA if he’ elected president, both on principle and for budgetary reasons. It’s probably one of his less controversial positions, since nobody enjoys airline security.
(Rand is the reason why many pundits don’t think Paul will split from the Republicans at this point in his political career. Making the GOP more Ron Paul-friendly in 2012 means it will be more Rand Paul-friendly in 2016 or 2020.)
Super PAC Releases Super Paul
Meanwhile, if Congressman Paul can’t get past Newt Gingirich or Mitt Romney, maybe Super Hero Paul (“champion of the constitution”) can.
The Paul-supporting Revolution PAC has come out with two action figures: one “Commander-in-Chief” Paul in a normal suit and tie and another of Paul in a red and blue costume that seems likely to get the PAC a cease-and-desist letter from Superman publisher DC Comics.
The limited-edition collectibles cost $94.95 (plus $7.50 shipping) and are both “equipped with a mini US constitution.” They also talk! (Sadly, the site does not have audio or video. At least not yet).
Super Hero Paul, in particular, can:
Flexing in Florida
Finally, another pro-Paul PAC, Endorse Liberty, has put $1.4 million towards an ad buy in Florida, even thought Paul himself is not really campaigning in the state.
As Lauren Fox of US News reported, Paul 2012 is instead focused on future primary and caucus states like Colorado and Nevada, where there is a better chance to pick up delegates. Florida’s primary is both closed (meaning only registered Republicans can vote, shutting out Paul’s independent base) and winner-take-all (and Paul was never gonna win).
His choice is further proof that Paul isn’t campaigning as much for the GOP nomination as he is focusing on gathering enough delegates to influence the GOP convention in August.
“If you win elections, you win delegates, and that is how you promote a cause,” Paul said in his South Carolina primary speech on Saturday.