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Monday, February 09, 2009

What's next for Ron Paul?

Picture 3 We've been keeping pretty close tabs on Ron Paul, the Texas Republican Congressman who became well-known during his 2008 presidential campaign for his unconventional libertarian stances (he opposed the Iraq War and wants to abolish the Federal Reserve System) and his band of "r3VOLutionaries," supporters whose online organization was unlike any force seen before in US politics. They gathered in local meetup groups to make home-made campaign signs and hold events to spread their message, coordinated record-breaking online fundraising "money bomb" days, and even raised money for a Ron Paul Blimp.

Although Paul's presidential campaign quietly wound down in the spring as John McCain emerged as the Republican Party's nominee for president, in the last few months, Ron Paul is once again getting attention. The successor organization for his presidential run, the Campaign for Liberty, organized a "Rally for the Republic" across the river from the Republican National Convention. The Rally, the culmination of a three-day event described by many media as a "counter-convention," attracted 10,000 attendees and a distinguished group of speakers including MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, conservative movement heavyweight Grover Norquist, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and former Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr.

Since then, Paul has become a mainstay on CNN, CNBC and Fox Business, where he is hailed as one of those, like his campaign's economic adviser Peter Schiff and economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the collapse of the US housing bubble.

Today, the Atlantic Monthly's politics blog caught up with the Congressman's staff to ask "What's Ron Paul Up To?" and take a look at the future:

It's an economic crisis he largely predicted -- so what's former presidential candidate / Rep. Ron Paul up to these days?  He's thinking about the long-term. His  campaign for Liberty will start training activists at eight regional summits this year while it continues to urge followers to work against the stimulus and bailout measures in Congress.

More than 500 activists are expected to attend the first summit in St. Louis from March 25 to 27. The second summit is scheduled for April in Jacksonville and a third tentatively set for Seattle. Campaign for Liberty's Senior Vice President Jesse Benton said five more summits will be held if the first three are successful.

Paul will attend the St. Louis summit, as well as Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News legal analyst and former New Jersey Supreme Court justice, and Tom Woods, best-selling author of the "Politically Incorrect Guide to American History."

Benton said the summits will educate activists on the principles of the Constitution and train them in how to influence politics, from organizing, educating, lobbying and running for office. Already activists are getting involved in running for Republican Party leadership races in different states, Benton said.

The campaign is already fighting against the growth of government by urging hundreds of thousands of supporters to write and call Congress to oppose the stimulus package. Benton said the organization has experienced a bump in interest since the original bailout was debated last September, but that Paul's supporters have been loyal for a long time.

"I think that people who have been with us have been with us in large part," he said, adding that the campaign is re-recruiting Paul's supporters from the presidential campaign.

Benton said the campaign regularly communicates with 115,000 people and has a total roster of 500,000.

The Shotgun Blog recently spotlighted a lengthy interview with the Campaign for Liberty president John Tate, who shares more about the organization's plans, operations, and activities.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on February 9, 2009 in U.S. politics | Permalink



Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-02-09 4:42:44 PM

Isn't he about as old as dirt? Next up for him is probably 'politician in residence' at the Strom Thurmond Old Age Home.

Posted by: Markalta | 2009-02-09 9:44:39 PM

Guys...so we should relegate common sense, liberty and fiscal responsibility to the sidelines because one of its proponents is getting a little aged? RP is sharp as a tack at his age and I could only hope to be so productive in my advanced years. Keep going Ron Paul.

Posted by: JC | 2009-02-10 4:20:16 AM

Yes, put Paul out to pasture alongside other failures.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-02-10 7:39:52 AM

Ron Paul may have grey hair and wrinkles, but he has the energy of a young man. I can't think of a better champion for the cause of liberty.

Posted by: yoikes | 2009-02-10 10:14:28 AM

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