Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) - While Rick Perry dominated the political dialogue at a speech in Bedford, New Hampshire, 30 miles away a group of several hundred "liberty lovers" lined up to cheer on Ron Paul.
Paul, the Texas congressman whose libertarian views have inspired a legion of full-throated conservatives to unswerving devotion, opened his campaign office in the state capital of Concord Wednesday evening. His supporters turned out in force.
Traffic was backed up onto the road as supporters searched for spots at the office park where the headquarters will open. Throngs of people toting yard signs waited in line to sign in and grab a plate of barbecue.
"This is the only man that knows the people," said Chris Lawless, a volunteer from Contoocook, New Hampshire. "The real grass-roots people are here."
Paul took the stage as his supporters chanted his name. He used his speech to further the populist, David vs. Goliath themes of his presidential run, and criticized the media for failing to give him due credit for ranking second in the closely watched Ames Straw Poll last weekend.
"We did have that rough and tumble with the media on the weekend but I think this has made up for it," Paul said of the size of the audience. "The issue has become the fact that I did not get any interviews on Sunday."
He also took the opportunity to poke fun at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who came under fire this week when he suggested Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke could be committing treason if he printed more money before the 2012 elections.
"Now we have a Southern governor, I can't remember his name," Paul said to raucous applause. "He makes me look like a moderate. I have never once suggested Bernanke committed treason."
Instead, the man who has pushed to "end the Fed" said he might consider Bernanke a counterfeiter.
Paul told his supporters this election was their opportunity to end the country's fiscal woes.
"At times I've been criticized for my lack of ability to give public speeches," he said. "But I've never backed off on a message. It's a message we need."