Ron Paul Rents 11,000-Seat Arena in St. Paul
Denied speech at GOP convention, Ron will hold ‘counter convention’ down the street
RON PAUL HAS BOOKED the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena near the site of the Republican Convention where he will hold a rival rally. The arena seats 11,000.
There is a growing surge of people out there just craving” for a return “to traditional American government, limited government that places personal liberty first and places an emphasis on personal responsibility and essentially gets out of the way after that,” spokesman Jesse Benton told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“The buzz we get from supporters is that they are very eager to come to the GOP Convention in St. Paul and very eager to send a strong message.”
McCain spokesman Jeff Sadosky declined comment. Paul has won 35 convention delegates, but was not invited to speak in St. Paul because he refuses to endorse McCain, according to his campaign.
Paul’s plan to stage his own event is bad news for McCain, said G. Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College.
“Conventions are about demonstrating unity and purpose and showcasing the nominee. They are media events made for prime-time TV. Any distraction from the central message of the convention is not helpful,” Madonna said.
McCain clinched the nomination on March 4 after gaining enough delegates to reach the 1,191 needed to win. Although Paul conceded in March he’d lost his bid for the White House, he’s maintained a scaled-down campaign.
Paul surprised most of the political establishment by raising about $35 million, mostly via the Internet. Paul’s Libertarian-leaning views created a following across a broad political spectrum.
Paul has not won any primaries or caucuses, but continued to pick up significant votes in key states such as New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
Jerry Shuster, a political communications expert at the University of Pittsburgh, said Paul’s timing for the event is likely to put him in the media spotlight during at least one day of the convention.
Paul’s forum probably won’t be aimed at hurting the GOP, Shuster said.
“He never seemed to be an open opponent of the Republican Party, but more about what the Republicans need to get back to,” Shuster said. “This is a golden opportunity for him to do that. The media is all going to be there so it’s just a matter of going down the block to see him. You know he’s going to get his 15 minutes on national news.”
(Issue # 25, June 23, 2008)