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Monday, February 13, 2012

Republicans see need to give Paul a voice

Rep. Ron Paul and his loyal band of supporters were uncharacteristically missing from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last week — and high-profile Republican leaders say the party can’t afford for that to happen in November if the GOP is to win the White House.

They pointed to, and applauded, the 76-year-old Texan’s unique ability to attract young, independent and first-time voters, giving his campaign a consistent level of energy and enthusiasm that is sometimes lacking in the other presidential camps.

“It would be a dramatic error for the winning campaign to disavow Ron Paul’s contributions to the process,” said Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosted the CPAC gathering. “I am a firm believer that Ron Paul has found a niche and found a movement that he wants to have a voice. It may not be a majority movement, but it’s a growing movement. So, if we are smart, he’s going to have his fair opportunity at convention, and a platform committee to have his points of views discussed and expressed.

He added, “Any winning campaign of the nomination, if it is not his, should embrace him and his followers if we are going to win in November.”

Mr. Paul’s supporters say he is the most genuine candidate and offers a unique brand of politics that doesn’t fit neatly into the Democratic-Republican duopoly that has ruled Washington for decades. Before it was chic on Capitol Hill, they say, he defended the U.S. Constitution, advocated for individual liberty and pushed for limited government through less spending and less taxation.

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