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Fifth-place finish in Iowa Straw Poll Fills the sails of Ron Paul’s campaign


By Mark Anderson

AMES, Iowa—With 1,305 votes, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) placed a strong fifth out of 11 listed Republican presidential candidates at the Aug. 11 Iowa Straw Poll, ahead of several “top-tier” candidates.

Paul trailed behind Mitt Romney (4,516), Mike Huckabee (2,587), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) (2,192) and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) (1,961). Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, after placing sixth with 1,039 votes, dropped out of the presidential race. And while “top-tier” GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did not officially take part, they received 183 and 101 votes, respectively.

Giuliani had difficulty overcoming his big government image while trying to appeal to voters in the heartland. Paul—whose platform calls for the most substantial, fundamental changes to the federal government—maintains he is in the race for the long haul in the wake of the Straw Poll. His speech in Ames’ Hilton Coliseum was greeted by the most enthusiastic band of placard-carrying supporters, who were numerous and vocal. Some wore Colonial-era tri-corner hats. A few even played American Revolution music on fifes.

The Dallas Morning News tried to claim Paul spoke to a small crowd, which is not true. C-SPAN footage clearly shows droves of people parading to the podium during and after his speech. Paul pressed on even while his wife, Carol, was reportedly in a Texas hospital (but doing OK).

Paul supporters from around the nation. Paul campaign Chairman Kent Snyder noted in a statement:

“On behalf of Dr. Ron Paul and his wife Carol, and the Ron Paul 2008 campaign staff, I thank our supporters and volunteers in Iowa and throughout the country for the strong showing in the Iowa Straw Poll. We are pleased and encouraged by the results. We have the three ingredients for success: The message [of] freedom, peace and prosperity; the man, Ron Paul; and you [supporters]. . . . Our campaign has begun.”

Paul’s speech was a concise summation of his consistent call for restoring a strong national defense based on national sovereignty and non-interventionism (so as not to stretch the military too thin and deplete its soldiers and resources), while also calling for gradually changing the Social Security System so young people can opt out if they choose. Paul, the only candidate to use the word “peace” explicitly, also noted that a central bank such as the Federal Reserve System is contrary to our constitutional order and that sound money should be restored. He decried running federal deficits so monstrous that the U.S. now needs China to help pay its bills. And he was perhaps the only candidate to point to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs as another source of our woes.

Paul, a medical doctor and former Air Force flight surgeon who has delivered more than 4,000 babies, also put more-than-usual emphasis on his belief that life begins at conception and that the unborn have the same inherent right to life as all other individuals.

Tancredo stuck with his demand for securing the U.S. borders, as Paul also believes, while taking a strong stance in favor of English as America’s language and against multiculturalism in which American schools and universities provide time and facilities for Muslim religious observances while denying Christians equal treatment.

Romney preached a gospel of “strength” for the military, families and the economy while decrying cultural degeneracy, such as pornography and violence in movies, video games and on TV; however, Romney claimed that the current Mideast war should be continued in its current manner, which has cost the U.S. half a trillion dollars and climbing, while somehow strengthening the economy and keeping “taxes down” and “government small.”

He would add 100,000 troops to the Mideast quagmire. Lauding President Bush for keeping “us safe for the last six years,” he expressed support for the post-9-11 Patriot Act, which Paul opposes.


However, the votes in this traditional mock election among registered Iowa voters were counted with electronic Optical Scan machines that “read” paper ballots, which are not universally trusted because the proprietary software that counts the votes can be manipulated. At least one of the machines at the Straw Poll malfunctioned, as was widely reported right after the event. Some 1,500 ballots had to be “recounted,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Another account says that the Iowa GOP insisted on collecting and counting all Straw Poll ballots out of public view in spite of demands to have the ballots placed in a clear plastic box where everybody can see them, and have them counted in front of everybody.

Vickie Karp, co-author of a prominent book on election fraud, has told AFP in numerous interviews that “malfunctions” of these optical scan machines should come as no surprise, as the machines are inherently prone to breakdowns and seem custom-made for tampering (e.g., by machine manufacturer representatives whose employers are politically connected), so the software counts the votes differently from what voters intended on the paper ballots fed into the scanners.

The Iowa Straw Poll, besides being a mock election among Iowans, also is a GOP fund-raiser. Candidates and organizations such as Fair Tax and the National Rifle Association rent space. The state GOP reportedly raised $1 million. Romney got prime space for $25,000. Others paid $15,000 just for their space for personnel, literature and other functions.

Fred Thompson got 203 votes, Duncan Hunter got 174 and John Cox, a newcomer, got 41. At left is a summary chart of the results, whose veracity may be in question if vote-counting problems remain an issue.

American Free Press reporter Mark Anderson can be reached at [email protected] Watch future AFP issues for more on America’s welcome acceptance of biofuels and other energy alternatives, helping end our gluttonous addiction to foreign petroleum.

(Issue #35, August 27, 2007)

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Updated August 18, 2007