Still, the media has refused to acknowledge that he is in fact a top-tier candidate, discussing instead the first, second and fourth most popular candidates, and overlooking Paul, who has generally sat in third place.
The Texas Congressman addressed this issue, as well as a number of others, at the National Press Club luncheon yesterday in Washington, D.C. "I think people should ask why things are news and others are not," he commented. (See video below)
To illustrate how the mainstream media is generally not covering his campaign, Paul asked the lunchtime crowd how many of them knew who won the Florida GOP straw poll (Herman Cain). A large majority raised their hands. He then asked who won the California straw poll (Paul), and only one person knew the answer.
As further proof, Paul showed the Press Club audience a video of Jon Stewart’s amusing and now-famous defense of the Texas Congressman on The Daily Show, when Stewart called out the media for its biased reporting on the GOP presidential race. During that satirical segment, Stewart showed a montage of news clips wherein reporters covered the progress of all the other GOP contenders in their campaigns except Paul. Each clip revealed that the mainstream media universally seemed to agree that Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and Texas Governor Rick Perry were the “top tier” candidates.
To that, Stewart joked to his audience, “You’re not forgetting anyone?” Stewart was bewildered by the media’s decision to ignore Paul's second-place finish in the Iowa straw poll and instead focus on former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, exclaiming, “He [Santorum] lost to the guy [Tim Pawlenty] who lost so bad that he dropped out of the race!"
“When did Ron Paul become the 13th floor of a hotel?” queried Stewart.
Still, Paul made no accusations that the mainstream media is deliberately ignoring him, though he did point out that it is guilty of a lack of coverage in certain instances.
Paul also discussed the financial success of his campaign. ABC News reports:
Paul [said] that his campaign had raised more than $8 million in the third fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30.
That's more than the $4.5 million he raised last quarter and more than the $5 million he raised in the third quarter of 2007, when he ran four years ago.
A member of the crowd mentioned that Rick Perry received a lot of campaign contributions this quarter, $17 million in fact. However, Paul’s response was significant, as it pointed out a key difference in the contributions. “I don’t get special interest money,” he noted. “Banks don’t give me money. All donations are not equal.”
Paul’s campaign contributions put him just behind Perry and Romney, in third place.
The Congressman addressed a number of vital issues at the luncheon, focusing specifically on U.S. foreign policy and the impact the war on terror has had on civil liberties.
“I don’t know why we can’t think about a foreign policy of good will … treat people like you would like to be treated. The Golden Rule could apply,” he observed.
Paul pointed out that America would not have to fear terrorist attacks if it simply stopped occupying other nations. The decision to build U.S. military bases in the Middle East has brought about negative unintended results, he observed, leading to the growth of terrorism — which he labeled blowback. Pointing to Lebanon in the 1980s, Paul reminded the audience that once the United States removed military personnel from the region, attacks “just stopped.”
Paul segued from this to the issue of the unending wars being fought by the United States. Noting that his campaign has garnered more contributions from military personnel than all of his competitors combined, he declared that the Obama administration should get the message: “It tells me that young people, military people are sick and tired of war. They want to come home.”
Paul also continued his reprimand of the Obama administration for its unlawful assassination of al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen on September 30. Paul once again set himself apart from the rest of the Republican contenders by his position on this issue, as he asserted that the Obama administration violated the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution by assassinating an American citizen without due process. The Congressman emphasized just how dangerous such an unconstitutional move could be, as it creates a slippery slope: “Why don’t they tell us what the rules are?” he asked. "Just because someone is said to be a threat to the security of the United States, they are placed on a target list. What if the media becomes a threat?” he continued, suggesting that journalists could also be in the crosshairs of the federal government if they disagreed with its policies.
Paul, a prominent and consistent fiscal conservative, also announced that soon he will reveal his budget-reduction proposal to cut one trillion dollars in government spending and eliminate a number of unconstitutional and non-essential agencies, such as the Departments of Education, Energy, and Commerce.
He also defended the Wall Street protesters, despite how little he agrees with their demands, asserting that they are engaged in legitimate civil disobedience and have a constitutional right to do so. He contended that they are simply frustrated with the nation’s fiscal direction, as he himself is. Where Paul and the protesters would disagree, however, is how these problems should be addressed. While the protesters' demands include more big government, Paul pointed out that the best approach to fixing the economy is to eliminate the Federal Reserve and allow the free market to operate without government interference.
Photo of Ron Paul at National Press Club: AP Images