Paul reacts to positive poll fortunes, nagging questions about electability
December 14th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Paul reacts to positive poll fortunes, nagging questions about electability

Amherst, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is currently confronted by two political realities: promising poll numbers in the states that hold the first two presidential contests, and nagging questions about his electability in a general election.

On Wednesday in New Hampshire, the Texas congressman addressed them both: playing up his popularity in Iowa and New Hampshire and insisting not only can he win the White House but that his critics fear a Paul administration. Even still, if the GOP primary race morphs into a long battle, Paul questioned his own stamina to endure it.

"I'm not looking forward to anything being long and protracted. So I hope it ends rather quickly and we do real well in the beginning of the year," Paul said after reporters questioned his ability to go long in a possible fight.

"The [Paul] organization is fantastic. The question is: am I going to hold up if I keep doing all this," Paul said.

Reporters also asked Paul about his steady, and in some cases surging, poll fortunes. The question-and-answer exchange came after a stop at a small convenience store in Amherst. It was the congressman's third event over a two-day swing in the Granite State.

"It means a whole lot for the campaign. It means that the momentum is building up," Paul said. "A lot of the candidates so far in this past year would come and go. You know, they'd shoot to the top and then drop back rather rapidly. Ours has never been that way. Ours has been very, very steady growth. And this last week or two there's a sudden extra growth."

"I think in political terms it means we're probably peaking at the right time."

Recent polls show Paul not only surging in Iowa but faring well against the two current GOP frontrunners: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. A fresh NBC News/Marist poll for Iowa shows Gingrich at 24% and Romney and Paul tied at 17%. Other polls for the Hawkeye State show similar numbers, with Gingrich in the lead and Paul either tied with Romney, slightly ahead, or slightly behind.

Yet even some of Paul's own supporters wonder if he can go the distance.

At a packed town hall on Tuesday evening in Peterborough, one Paul supporter – a California native - asked the congressman: how could she convince others to vote for Paul given that many federal employees would be out of work if Paul were able to shutter the government agencies he deems costly or unnecessary. Another supporter at the event questioned whether or not Paul's overall message is resonating.

"How do you get your message out to Americans that there's a real problem?" a man asked, referring to the dangers of government spending.

And at a Wednesday breakfast meet-and-greet at Joey's Diner, one man simply urged Paul to stand up for himself.

"You need to start saying, 'I can get elected,' Ken Brumleve told the congressman. "Because nobody's saying it. You've got to say it."

"Well you know why they say that - because they're scared to death I will get elected," Paul responded. "So they have to put a negative spin on it."

Yet the congressman conceded the man's point.

"You're right," Paul said.

After the exchange, Brumleve told CNN, "Everybody I talk to about Ron Paul say he's got great ideas, he's a great person – but he can't be elected. He can't win. So he's got to get out and say he can win."

Reporters pressed Paul about that sentiment after his convenience store event.

"Everyday it seems to be getting better…We're doing well in the polls. But I don't think that we should, you know, rest on that. I think there's only one poll coming up – well two immediate. That's the 3rd and the 10th, here. So that will make the big difference," Paul said, referencing the Iowa caucuses on January 3 and New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary on January 10.

"If you do extremely well or win those that might dampen that propaganda about, 'Oh, he can't win. He can't win.'

Paul was asked if he can appeal to social conservatives, national security hawks and conservative Wall Street executives within the GOP.

"Well you can't win over everybody," Paul told reporters. "But I think some of those individuals, you know, the special interests on Wall Street - they might have a lot of money, but they don't have the numbers of voters."

"Some of those you won't win over because their interests are served by the Federal Reserve," added Paul, a frequent critic of that agency. "But the people, the more they understand the Federal Reserve, and how this monetary system works, the more our numbers grow."

As Gingrich vows to run a positive campaign, Paul explained the difference between going negative and drawing contrasts.

"I think pointing out people's positions is not negative," Paul said. "If you go after people and you distort information and it becomes personal, that can be construed as negative. But if the media won't talk about a person's record I think the candidates have a responsibility to point out, 'Well his position used to be this.'"

"I mean, what is wrong with that? That's what campaigning is all about. 'Well he used to say this. And then he flipped over like this.' I don't consider that negative."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Ron Paul
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Andy

    People on here saying you don't like his foreign policy or his ideology of neutrality and fairness. If you do not like Ron Pauls foreign police then you must like what we have now which if you like this you must be an ignorant pig. America no longer has morals which means it can no longer inspire people which means it is not a special country which means you are not special which means your voice means nothing which is the USA's current policy which you state you like by defying Ron Pauls logic. Have you Ron Paul Deniers ever stopped to think that Military Men and women would suffer so much from PTSD if they were fighting for something morally significant Something they could believe in? instead they are on the front lines watching america waste its resources by hiring private contractors to do there same job for more money and they are also watching the suffering of the people we occupy but i guess this policy works why change it? You say Ron Paul can not be president then i say he should not because people like you don't deserve him. Saying someone cannot be a leader of a free country what kind of hypocrisy is this?

    December 15, 2011 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  2. xyz198155

    It is really amazing. Just over a month ago nobody wanted to talk about Ron Paul, especially the media. In fact they wanted to stamp him out of the discussion as an old man.

    Today even CNN cannot stop covering Ron Paul's Rise in the polls.

    Ron Paul 2012.

    December 15, 2011 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  3. Fearless

    The author of this article writes "can't win" and similar statements over 5 times yet never quotes Mr. Paul's answers to the questions "supporters" asked. "At a packed town hall on Tuesday evening in Peterborough, one Paul supporter – a California native – asked the congressman: how could she convince others to vote for Paul given that many federal employees would be out of work if Paul were able to shutter the government agencies he deems costly or unnecessary. Another supporter at the event questioned whether or not Paul's overall message is resonating. "

    This isn't a very informative piece.

    December 15, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  4. Andy

    HAH People saying Ron Paul is dangerous yeah look at him he scares the hell out of me he looks like my grandpa and hes got a good head on his shoulders so he is very dangerous to the people who are really running the country. SO YES RON PAUL IS VERY DANGEROUS OMG CRAZY HUMBLE OLD MAN WHO DESERVES RESPECT RUN!!!

    December 15, 2011 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. AnynmsJrnlst

    As a reporter, anchor, producer for a local television station in the Midwest, I try to put Ron Paul in the discussion during our national segment as much as possible, but it's hard because the national content we get from our network affiliate only includes Gingrich and Romney.

    Yes there are down sides to Ron Paul's ideology, but you have to understand he would only be leading one branch of government. Also, I would love to have someone as transparent as Paul in the White House instead of having these nasty adulterous chameleons.

    December 15, 2011 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  6. Tom Wittmann

    I agree with the blogger who say that Ron Paul is dangerous. He is an irrational anarchist, unless he is posing. Only two examples: he want to eliminate de Fe3deral Reserve. So who will supply the money??

    In time of the surge of crooks in the Private sector, from Enron to Madoff, and many other which were caught in time by the SEC, he wants to eliminate this agency. As the same and other bloggers write, this is a concern regarding the IQ
    of the US population that he has so many supporters

    He seems the reborn Dr. Domingo Tortorelly, who 60 or 70 years ago was a solitary 1 party man in the Uruguayan house of Representatives, elected several times. and also several times candidate to presidency, with a few hundred votes. As Ron Paul, he was a Doctor, but he was harmless. One of his offers to the population was to build all road with a downward slope, so it was easier to walk on them!! (Of course, that he was elected to the Parlament was due
    to protest votes).

    December 15, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  7. mohammad

    He is the only one in the field that makes since

    December 15, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  8. flarnkingsgargle

    He's certainly less corrupt than anyone else. and more knowledgeable in countless policy areas. but he doesn't pander to the masses, so I guess it will be someone else.

    December 15, 2011 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  9. Just Me

    Well, the Republicans cannot seem to make up their minds on who they wish to be their nominee. So much seasawing and back and forth. One minute, this candidate is up, the next, another is in the polls. So I guess Paul is about to get his turn at the top.

    I guess the one to be at the top at the end of this back and forth will be the nominee. LOL

    December 15, 2011 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  10. Justin T

    What I find facinating is the incredible level of SCRUTINY Ron Paul critics apply to him. They're so afraid and concerned about his "radical" foreign policy of us not engaging in illegal, unwinnable wars. They're so concerned about his "extreme" positions, which aren't extreme at all. It's just this talking-points rhetorical nonsense. This fog that turns your mind into total mush.

    If only they would apply the same level of scrutiny, concern and criticism to Obama and other GOP candidates who support the further erosion of our civil liberties. If only they would look at and question our foreign policy and the propaganda used to propel the false "war on terror". If only they would use the same critical thinking with respect to *everything else*. Use the same standard you use on Ron Paul with everyone else. Just try it.

    December 15, 2011 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  11. Insider

    I have listened to many speeches Ron has given and he sounds better then all the other candidates put together. The problem is the media and the machine is against him so it's gonna be a rough ride. Most negative comments on forums most likely come from opposite camps supporters. Ron's message is hard not to like since it's what made America great in the first place!

    December 15, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  12. paulbark

    The anti-Romney Republicans are still looking for their savior. It isn't Bachman, Perry, Cain, or Gingrich. It's not Paul, either. It's a very weak GOP field. People don't like Obama. But, they like the GOP field even less. Even the GOP doesn't like their candidates. They would like someone else, like Christie, to get into the race. Of course, if he does, he'll be found to be just as flawed as all the others.

    December 15, 2011 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  13. YoungPatriot

    Go Ron Paul! Finally CNN! Looks like truth can overcome

    December 15, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  14. Chris

    Frankly if Ron Paul doesn't win the nomination I probably won't vote. He is truly the only candidate that is for actual change in this country. ALL other candidates are the same every election.

    December 15, 2011 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  15. Roib H

    Ron Paul: "I’ve offered to ride a bicycle for 20 miles in Houston when the temperature is 100° and the humidity is 100% and I will go 20 miles with them and then we’ll decide who’s the youngest."

    He said this about 2 months ago. The man is in excellent shape. Thanks for FINALLY reporting on the doctor for Texas. You guys do a terrible job at helping the American people to get to know their candidates honestly and in depth...

    December 15, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  16. callnews

    Nix to the Media vote. The difference with Ron Paul is he asks that the electorate think for themselves using the facts. That scares alot of people who are currently in power both politically and economically. They're scared of a United States that's led by the Constitution.

    December 15, 2011 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  17. callnews

    Nix to the Media vote. The difference with Ron Paul is that he asks the electorate to think for themselves using the facts. This scares alot of people who are currently in power both politically and economically. They're scared of the country being ruled by the Constitution.

    December 15, 2011 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  18. Wylie-Mike

    Ron Paul, do you even know who you are and what you stand for. Perhaps you should read your own news letters.

    December 15, 2011 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  19. Kelli


    Seriously, folks. Ron Paul has a voting record that is older than I am and every single thing he's voted on must comply within the boundaries of the Constitution. How can you not want a man with that kind of consistency as your president?!?!? How can you not want to bring your troops home? How can you not want to make YOUR country better? How can you not want your freedoms restored?!


    December 15, 2011 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  20. 9bye9bye9

    Good luck Mr. Ron Paul. You are the best, most honest, most accurate, most differentiated candidate out there period!
    On everything from foreign policy to economy.

    December 15, 2011 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  21. Sandra B.

    Ron Paul would be unlike other candidates - in that he is not an airhead "spokesmodel". It's interesting that people feel comfortable with vacuous "teleprompter-reader presidents" for the last 12 years, yet attack this guy who can independently write his own speeches and even ...*shudder*... think for himself with his own thoughts. Something people have construed as "ideology".
    George W. Bush might have said all the right things to win election, and he might have been likeable enough to go have a drink with. But that's all he was - all superficial surface. No one was freaked out by his ideology because there was none coming from the spokesmodel. He merely represented a brand, with speeches written by other writers and ideologues - A carefully crafted PR marketing campaign in the illusion of the Great Wizard of Oz. Yeah, well, people got to look behind the curtain for 8 years and you saw what Bush Ideology really stood for. Scary. And the American people voted not once, but twice for it. Even more scary.
    Beware of candidates who are "likeable", and possess no ideology. It means they have been crafted specifically to be the juicy apple that seduces and ultimately poisons you. At least with Ron Paul, you don't have to guess what's behind the curtain, because he's upfront about his beliefs and there is no curtain or facade. I figure even if you don't agree with his "ideology", let him attack and gut the Federal Reserve, a private corporation, for 4 years, then vote in someone else once the job is done. The country will be better off for it.

    December 15, 2011 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  22. jrdobbs

    Ron Paul could certainly pull some voters from the left in a general election. Obama has been a major disappointment to the left on civil liberties, drug policy, ending the wars, and taking on Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Paul's stated positions on all those issues are, frankly, better than what Obama has shown us so far. Unfortunately, Paul's views on Social Security, Medicare, and laissez-faire capitalism are about as far away from the left as you can get, which limits his appeal to disgruntled progressives. But if Paul were to actually win the nomination, the debates he could spark would only be good for our country.

    December 15, 2011 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  23. sm

    I had ceased to believe that US can produce reasonable and thinking politicians like him. I really like him!

    December 15, 2011 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  24. On Paul's civil rights views

    @Rudy NYC

    Let me, a Ron Paul supporter, explain to you Ron Paul's "controversial" views on civil rights.

    In very simple terms, Mr Paul does not believe the government has the authority to tell you who you will do business with, who you will provide a service to, and who you will employ. If YOU want to discriminate against a certain group of people, YOU are free to do so.

    Mr Paul also believes people are smart enough to make rational decisions. If YOU are going to be that person who decides to openly discriminate, expect concequences. I would expect a discriminating business to do poorly. I would expect others to shun that business owner. I would expect that person to actually live a hard life. Because if one truly wishes to treat others how they wish to be treated, a bigot expects intolerance right back.

    These views spark controversy because of the illogical conclusion that "if you don't support the civil rights act it is because you are racist". Ron Paul only has issues with civil rights because THE GOVERNMENT IS TELLING YOU HOW TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS. If the government can force you to run your business a specific way, then how else will they control your life?

    Ron Paul is not supporting racism and bigotry. He's supporting your freedom to make choices free from Government intervention. If those choices are racist and discriminatory in nature and will probably get you beat up,
    hey... it was your choice.

    December 15, 2011 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  25. gabe

    Ron Paul 2012

    December 15, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
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