What's it like to see Ron Paul on the campaign trail?
His message of protecting personal liberty remains remarkably consistent — especially when not constrained by three-minute news interviews or 90-second debate responses. And people come out in droves to see him.
One such frenzied crowd was seen during a town hall meeting in Meredith, N.H., on Sunday afternoon. Over and over, supporters called Paul the rare politician who "means what he says." Paul doesn't sugar-coat his unconventional views, either — no matter whom he is addressing. During that event, a little girl asked the three-time presidential candidate how he would replace the five federal departments he vows to abolish if elected president, especially the Department of Education.
"For the most part, I wouldn’t want to replace them because I don’t think we need a Department of Education," Paul said.
"What I want to do is go back to the assumption it’s not the federal government's proper authority to tell your parents how to educate you. It’s your parents’ responsibility," he continued, to rapturous applause. "We have to protect your right to be homeschooled or 'private-schooled' or whatever."
Texans have known Paul for a long time — he's been elected 12 times to the U.S. House. But the retired obstetrician and libertarian-leaning firebrand is spearheading a national movement. To give our readers a snapshot of the voters Paul has inspired outside of Texas, we've posted three short videos below that show the candidate in his own words, discussing three issues that have made him a hero to many, a political enigma to most and a "dangerous" man to some of his own fellow Republicans.
1. Israel. While most other presidential candidates have vowed their support for the Jewish state, the former Air Force flight surgeon says he questions all overseas spending that isn't directly related to defense. He says he's not anti-Israel but rather pro-American.
2. Health care. During Sunday's Q&A, an undecided voter asked Paul what his administration's health care policies might mean for his daughter, who has struggled with a long-time illness and is set to graduate from college. (Federal health care reform currently allows graduates to stay on their parents' coverage plans until they are 26.) His question was touching — and Paul's answer may surprise some.
3. Creating Jobs. Paul says the key to addressing job creation is to control government spending, giving private businesses the confidence they need to hire.
The Final Push
Paul is scheduled to have breakfast at a Manchester eatery today before attending a meet-and-greet in Hollis and a town hall in Stratham with employees of Timberland.
The Tribune's Thanh Tan is in New Hampshire through Tuesday's primary to cover Ron Paul on the campaign trail. She'll be posting video over the coming days. Follow her on Twitter @uscthanhtan for updates.