Paul, who is already in New Hampshire as the main attraction at a Thursday night GOP event in Concord, will address his supporters at a 10 a.m. rally Friday at the Exeter Town Hall. The event is expected to draw hundreds to the historic seacoast community that was the first capital of the state that has been holding the nation's first presidential primaries every fourth year since Dwight Eisenhower and Estes Kefauver won the Republican and Democratic primaries respectively in 1952. No candidate has ever made it to the White House since then without finishing first or second among the large number of contenders who enter the race at New Hampshire's starting line.
For Paul, who finished fifth in New Hampshire after beginning as a virtual unknown four years ago, it will be the third quest for the Oval Office. The 75-year-old resident of Lake Jackson, Texas, ran for President way back in 1988 as the candidate of the little known and barely financed Libertarian Party. He received about one percent of the vote.
While Paul's following has been recognized more for its enthusiasm than its numbers, both may be growing as the Tea Party rebellion and the election results of 2010 indicate a growing distrust among voters of the government's role as steward of the nation's economy and guardian of the people's welfare. Voters last year elected a number of Republicans to Congress who called for a smaller role for government and a greater opportunity for Americans to follow their own "pursuit of happiness," free of government restraints beyond what is needed to protect "life, liberty and property." One of them, Paul's son Rand, stunned political observers last year with a landslide victory over the Republican establishment candidate in the U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky. The political newcomer then scored an impressive win in the fall election to become the junior Senator from the Blue Grass State. Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin are among chief executives doing battle at their respective State Houses against public employee unions and other organized groups that are fighting efforts to reduce the growth in government spending and balance budgets now deep in the red.
Ron Paul drew impressive crowds on college campuses and village greens four years ago, and he continues to do so as he preaches his political creed of greater personal freedom and less interference from the government in Washington, both at home and abroad. While the Republican Party has championed hawkish foreign and military policies for decades, Paul drew loud applause at a debate of the "second tier" Republican candidates in South Carolina last week when he called for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. He opposed going to war with Iraq from the time the idea was first floated by the George W. Bush administration and was one of a tiny minority of Republicans to vote against the Patriot Act that authorizes search and seizure activities by federal authorities that many believe go beyond the strictures of the Fourth Amendment.
Paul's authorship in the past few years of a number of best-selling books, including the recently released Liberty Defined, has also increased his visibility and name recognition. His other books include Revolution: A Manifesto, A Foreign Policy for Freedom, and End the Fed. His chairmanship of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy has given him an opportunity to call hearings on the workings of the Federal Reserve and to press his call for an audit of the institution that controls interest rates, the supply of money, and other aspects of the nation's monetary policy. Paul has warned that unless the massive budget deficits approved by Congress and the President are brought under control, the "Fed," on its own authority, will expand the supply of money to bring on hyperinflation. Deficits now in the range of $1 trillion to $2 trillion a year, a national debt that has soared past the $14 trillion mark, and the current debate over raising the debt ceiling have all increased public awareness of fiscal and monetary issues, Paul believes.
"People outside Washington are waking up," he said on a recent edition of John Stossel's Fox Business TV program. "And they're getting the attention of a few in Washington."