Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Ron Paul spoke to a nearly packed hall of about 1,000 Republicans in Iowa on Saturday – reiterating frequent campaign themes of increased individual liberty and reduced government spending and entanglement in foreign wars.
Moments after the Republican presidential candidate walked out, over half the audience walked out as well.
The mass exit of seemingly Paul supporters suggests the Texas congressman stands a good chance of winning the National Federation of Republican Assemblies' presidential straw poll. Results will be announced later on Saturday.
Paul is a perennial favorite at these types of non-binding vote tallies that gauge a candidate's popularity.
The congressman kicked off the event, only one of two presidential candidates to appear in person. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum followed Paul. Anita Perry, wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also addressed the gathering. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivered a video message to the group.
For his part, Paul restated libertarian qualms with the government: the Federal reserve is dangerous for the nation's economic health, Americans should be wary of the government's privacy violations, there's been a steady erosion of liberties, and the U.S. spends too much.
Paul's most sustained applause came when he pressed that the U.S. should disengage from virtually all involvement in wars abroad.
"I fear much more the erosion of the protections of our liberties here at home and the erosion of our economy than I do from any foreign adversary," Paul said.
The congressman continued by criticizing the U.S. "dropping drones in Pakistan," and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
"Maybe our policies are flawed," Paul said. "I think it's time for us to come home and mind our own business."
That elicited sustained applause from the audience. This despite many conservatives frequently stressing that the U.S. should maintain a strong and active military, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Recently, many of Paul's fellow presidential candidates – including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich – decried President Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year.
"This country needs to wake up and quit lying to itself," Paul said. "Whether its on the economics or foreign policy."
–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN
Ron Paul is a populist demagogue who appeals to small-minded people who confuse their small-mindedness with "libertarianism". Time for Paul supporters to crawl out of their little shells and realize that the world is a big and complex place and whether they like it or not, the U.S. is part of that – economically, politically, spiritually, and, yes, even our military has a role to play.
If those of you who are republicans really believe that Ron Paul stands a chance to win your parties nomination you are as demented as he is. This walkout proves it!
Ron Paul will return the United States to the early 19th Century – except, this time we won't have that 3000 mile wide moat to protect us from those who would destroy us.
Even if Ron Paul loses the primary I will still write his name in in defiance.
If you'd rather vote for Paul in the general election, it's IMPERATIVE you actually turn out for your state's primary.
Paul is not an isolationist. He is a non-interventionist–the difference is NIGHT AND DAY if you take the time to research it.
Ron Paul has a lot of gall!! Too bad it's a little too THICK for more than the majority of Americans!! His fans, however, are growing and this will hurt the Republican's numbers.
Without the Ron Paul Army ~ Republicans will be defeated.
Doctor will win the nomination and win the general election.
Dr Paul got 82% of the votes. Ron Paul has a real chance at pulling off the GOP upset.
I don't understand the infatuation with Ron Paul and don't see anything different in how he would be an executive than Obama is. Obama has tried to govern from the middle, but also as a Democrat, for which he has gotten criticized by members of both parties. What I fault Obama for is is naivete as to how business is conducted inside the beltway and Ron Paul is entering with a seemingly equal amount of naivete. If Democrats didn't line up behind Obama's call to reform Congress, how will Ron Paul change anything? Congress is the one who makes the law, and bring troops home, send troops out, eliminate entire departments, etc. He would be even more ineffective in effecting change than Obama has, largely because of the entrenched money in Congress and who really pulls the strings for the mouths of the politicians. I don't dislike Paul, and of all Republicans, I would vote for him in a Republican primary over the other candidates, but I don't see much in substance that would make me change my vote in a national election..
if you want to waste your vote on paul, might as well just stay home and take a dump in the toilet.
RON PAUL 2012!! hes the only person left to save this country.
kyle from godfrey IL
Ron Paul ain't St. Peter. Only 8% favor him nationwide of Republicans in polls. As a career politician, what has he accomplished aside making himself wealthy?
If he don't recieve the GOP spot,do not stay home just write him in.
To Southern Hottie – Ron Paul wears "store bought" clothes like the rest of America. I for one am glad he does not spend thousands on tailored clothes like the rest of the pack. As for the global economy I believe we could cultivate more economic trading partners by changing our current foreign policies. We are seen by many countries as invaders with good cause. If China descided to place troups in Mexico and then station them in our country and finally go into Canada what would we do? The answer is we would take up arms against them. Lastly our country does not have the income to support our current foreign policy nor the thousands of goverment departments we have-period.
This worries me a bit. Were these people bused in? I hope not. I have respect for Mr. Paul. I don't want to lose it.
Ron Paul won the Iowa GOP straw poll by a landslide: 82% Paul, 14% Cain. [laughs]
The mainstream media's reporting of past straw polls: "The winner is the GOP front-runner".
Ron Paul is the winner. Ron Paul is the front-runner. Ron Paul will win 2012. Get ready for it. :)
@ – Saul – I think Ron Paul is correct on everything it is time for a real change. Those that think that is radical are the radical ones. Why keep choosing more of the same? It is time for something different.
Some of us are choosing more of the same as we don't trust Ron Paul. You should know now that sometimes what a politician says isn't what he means. Personally, with the Rethugs and the Democrats we kind of know what we are getting into. Not so much with the Libertarian Party. What the heck is that anyway?
@SOUTHERN HOTTIE Ron Paul doesn't participate in the pention fund like all the other canidates. Also, the department of education has only made the price of education skyrocket while making the quality plummit. Teachers change the grades on tests to make it look like the students are doing well...just hurting the students. He isn't a career politician, he made his career as an obgyn. You need to stop getting your info from the news and do some research on your own for that is where the real info comes. Also, do you know any waitresses? You know how if you are a waitress you only get paid $2.13 an hour plus tips? Do you know who lobbyied to get that law passed? YOUR MAN HERMAN CAIN. Yea he is a real people person huh? "Those who read nothing but news papers know less than those who don't read anything at all."
I am a former Democrat who recently switched to Republican so I can vote for Paul in the primaries.
However, I have to say that my vote will either go to Paul or Obama. If you nominate any other candidate, (with the possible exception of Huntsman), mine and many other moderates and independents like mysefl, will vote for 4 more years of "hope and change". I would much rather just vote for "real change" and stop wishing.
Ron Paul 2012.
Typical. All the people who disagree with Ron Paul are well intentoned but never go past figuring out why he believes in his limited government philosophy. The DOE has done nothing more than dictate, through the federal government how and what schools are allowed to teach, any teacher will tell you this. As for Medicaid and Medicare, with the government getting involved it jacks up the cost of the service. Whenever government gets involved in offering services it may do it at a recuced or free price but you'll still end up paying for it through inflation, so its never free. The quickest and easiest way to learn why a limited government is the best form of government and why we can rely on individuals to behave responsibly and help out their fellow man and woman themselves is just to watch some youtube videos of Ron Paul. These aren't exactly his beliefs. Their the beliefs of many philosophers, economists, teachers and truely everybody from all walks of life proffessional or not
Ron Paul is the only candidate I will vote for : )
Non-interventionism is not isolationism, and last time I checked America's education system has continued to falter compared to other countries despite the massive amounts of taxpayer dollars pumped into the department of education. This slip directly coincides with the creation of the department of education in 1979. It hasn't worked and the data shows it is the cause. So miss southern get your facts straight and stop parroting off lies. Ron Paul 2012, truth will prevail!
Go Ron Paul!
Scott...Somalia? Really? You are not serious.
Google Ron Paul, know him and what he stands for, then comment.
I want a president that will DO what he says he will do in office. I don't care if they are democrat or republican, we need HONEST folks in the highest office of the land. Support for him, is support for principled consistency in out political system!