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. Aguirre

    Obama's got my vote so far but, I don't understand why Ron Paul is called a nut or a quack? Bringing our troops home is crazy? Filing criminal investigation on bakers is nuts? Protecting citizen's rights is quack? Protecting freedom in the internet is loco? Could it be it's true? MSM, coorporations and adversaries are all scared?

    December 14, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Derrel Walters

    Want some solid people to buy up all of these houses, people that will pay?

    Bring home the troops.

    Want to get a better handle on immigration control?

    Bring home the troops and employ them to build strategic fencing along the border.

    Want to stimulate the economy?

    Bring home the troops and allow them to spend that hard earned tax payer money here at home.

    Want a President that can get this to happen?

    Vote Ron Paul.

    December 14, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. JR White Bear Lake MN.

    If Ron Paul wins the GOP nomination I may be able to sleep the night before the election. Any of the rest of the freak show ...NO WAY!!

    December 14, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Marie Rich

    I'm not interested in voting 'out' one pol and voting 'in' a different (ha, really the same) party. In the past, I've let myself be persuaded in that my vote would be 'wasted' if I didn't vote for the lesser of two evils. NO MORE. I'll vote for Ron Paul as a write-in if he doesn't win the nomination.

    December 14, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Logic in LA

    Fear? I'm terrified! Can you imagine the executive decisions made while Congress is not in session?

    December 14, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Huen


    "I think a better question is.....why does'nt Ron Paul appeal to everybody?"

    Because the media discredit him. They are afraid of NO CORUPTION!

    December 14, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would have grave concerns about Ron Paul as president. His foreign policy is unaffected by history. It sounds so isolationist that it makes me wonder if he would support anything our allies would see as necessary. Letting people do what they want is fine except when it starts stepping on everyone else's toes and sensiblities which can be fine here in the country. The problem is that when we have to deal with the rest of the world, we need to show our values and retreating isn't one of them.

    December 14, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Brett Nesbitt

    Ron Paul makes more sense than any other candidate. It shows with his support among different political spectrums. He gets support from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Why? Because he is running on policy. How many candidates do that these days?

    December 14, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Sammy

    If common sense and truth will prevail that means 3on @aul's victory.

    December 14, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    >Any time I see somebody call Obama a socialist, I have to wonder if they actually know what socialism is. He's basically a 1980s Republican

    Never recall any 1980s Republicans waging class warfare the way Obama does. Also don't recall any "sharing the weath" and comments about the 1% and 99%. Could have sworn I was alive then to....

    December 14, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Larry L

    @Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    "We elected a socialist so what's the big deal about electing a Libertarian?"
    You use the word "socialist" as if you understood it's meaning. Leveling the playing field to prevent the corporate-funded right-wing from destroying the middle-class is not socialism. Preventing right-wingers from plundering Medicare and Social Security is not socialism. The wealthy have prospered at the expense of the middle class, sending their money offshore and not creating jobs – contrary to the Republican myth about trickle-down economics. It never works. Making people pay a progressive income tax, especially in light of the many loopholes they use today, isn't socialism. It's the only way to prevent the wealthy from buying our government and using it to increase their wealth to a point where none of their ancestors will ever need to work and be productive. How would that turn out? All of the nations where an elite class drove the middle class and the poor into the ground have ended up in revolution. It's history.

    If you're supporting the Republican Party of today you are supporting an effort to create fascist government – similar to the governments we fought WWII to eliminate. It would help America to try to bridge the gaps we've allowed hate radio and right-wing news to create. Stop calling the President a socialist and look at what's actually happened over the last three years. The Republicans were in control when this situation was created. Calling the President names and refusing to accept responsibility for obstructive behavior is simply childish and unpatriotic.

    December 14, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Jamie from Riverside

    Ron Paul looks like one of Santa's elves. Can you imagine him with big black shoes with buckles on them and dressed in green velvet at the inaugeration?

    December 14, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Marie Rich

    @S. B. Stein
    Guess it depends on your perspective. I fully support the USA fighting against blatant agression (i.e. invasion of Kuwait in 1st Iraq war), and in fighting against genocide (i.e. Bosnia). But we (Congress and Pres.) pick and chose, or we would be fighting in other places (Somalia comes to mind, at least to shut down pirates, if not genocide. Remember that the marines went "to the shores of Tripoli" to fight pirates). But do we have the right to decide to prop up a regime or try to change it in a sovereign country? If we had let the (corrupt) government fall in Vietnam, and avoided war fatigue, a few years later we could have intervened in Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia. Instead, we stood back while a million plus people were massacred.

    December 14, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    I love how Ron Paul supporters ignore his controversial positions on civil rights. That's because his position that being a bigot is totally indefensible.

    December 14, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Donkey Party

    The only thing more dangerous than a Ron Paul Presidency, are the brainwashed dolts that support him. His supporters key in on one or two reasonable stances Paul takes, become totally enamored with him, then fail to look at the rest of his stances, the ones that would jeopardize our personal health, safety, and prosperity. As with ALL the GOP crop of horribly flawed candidates, Paul is no exception, except perhaps a little more dangerous than the others.

    December 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Richard

    The question I have is how does Dr. paul suggest we transition from the government we have now to the one he envisions. What happens to all the people who have government jobs and the countless more who work for companies that provide good and servcies to the Federal Government? Who pays for these people to transition into other areas of the economy? I have yet to hear Dr.Paul or his supporters address this concern. Its a great idea to cut the deficit and reign in the budget but there will be casualties.

    December 14, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Dr. Alan Price

    @S.B.Stein E.B.NJ: I suggest that the converse to what you have said is true. It is the current foreign policy, which has been extant for a very long time, throughout many presidential administrations, that is unaffected by history. We have bases in more than 130 countries, 900 at the last count that I read. We continue to create animosity and ill will for our presence and we do not learn from this history. For example, consider the current situation in Iran. People are calling for the 17,000 individuals in the Embassy to get out. If you have not traveled around the world, you simply will not be aware of how much American foreign policy is despised. Paul is not an isolationist. He is very focused on what is going on worldwide and would be an advocate for talking with people diplomatically, trading with people in other countries, but not getting entangled in their national affairs and conflicts. Israel, for instance, does not need any help for us to defend itself. This is amply true. The best estimate is that they have at least 200 nuclear weapons. We simply need to get out of other people's business. This meddling is what is causing us to be vulnerable to attack. We make ourselves unsafe. Paul would not hesitate to defend this country and to counterattack if attacked. We have a weapon now that can hit any target in the world in an hour or less. The bottom line is that Paul is not weak on defense, by any means. He is strong on not being the aggressor and making enemies by such aggression, which includes covert operations. Ron Paul, thus, is the only candidate who can move us in the direction of safety and solidity in our monetary affairs.

    December 14, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. Alissa



    From Business Insider

    Ron Paul, the once-forgotten presidential candidate, is picking up steam in Iowa and now appears poised to overtake frontrunner Newt Gingrich, according to a new survey released today from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.

    The poll finds support for Gingrich has slipped to 22%, with Ron Paul just behind with 21%. Mitt Romney trails in third place with 16%.

    That’s a five-point drop in favorability for Gingrich, who has raced to the top of the Republican presidential field over the past month. PPP found Gingrich’s favorability numbers have fallen 19 points over the past week.

    Meanwhile, support for Paul is on the rise, particularly among younger voters and voters who identify themselves as “new.” Among likely caucus-goers under age 45, Paul leads Gingrich 30-16. The numbers are nearly flipped for caucus-goers over age 45.

    But what Paul’s fans lack in age and experience, they make up for in enthusiasm — 77% of Paul supporters say they are definitely going to vote for him, compared to 54% for Gingrich.

    December 14, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. This si killing me!

    This entire GOP primary reminds me of one of the games they play during the 7th inning stretch in minor league baseball. The one where the group of clowns tries to run the bases and each one gets their turn in first place. What a joke.

    December 14, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Tom Thomas

    @Woman in California. Nick won that argument. He asked that you make an argument instead of calling people names, and your retort is to call him ignorant (with no argument at all). That is why you do a great disservice to those that believe as you do. You make the anti Paul camp look stupid, and not all of them are. But you are.

    December 14, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Here, Here, Larry L. Here here! If the malignant neo-toads have the eyes to see, and the momentary mental clarity to read your words, they will understand what a load of deseased baboons thay are.

    December 14, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. DumbasRocks [R]s

    A shout-out to Dr. Alan Price, who posted in defense of Paul on the other "Paul" thread: likewise "you have not done one whit of serious research to" conclude that Paul "has more compassion in his little finger than" Marie MD has in her "entire being". You are a pompous windbag, blindly following the shenanigans of a libertarian huckster.

    This story alone bespeakes the regressive and demeaning outlook on our modern society that Ron Paul has always had. When this idiot looks in the constitution, he will also see no mention of airplanes, rockets, computers - and no mention of federally funded scientific research which has led this country out of a debilitating World War and placed our country and western civilization at the forefront of human knowledge and progress.

    If you would like to go back to living in a cave, and experience having the richest among us determine every aspect of our lives as they fill the power vacuum left by the destruction of the people's government, then vote for Paul. Our culture will come to a halt, and you will soon find that islamic jihadists are the least of your worries. And I can think of nothing more unpatriotic than that. Ron Paul and what he stands for STINKS - it was tried, and it was called the Stone Age.

    December 14, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. DumbasRocks [R]s

    To Dr. Alan Price, who posted in defense of Paul on the other "Paul" thread: likewise "you have not done one whit of serious research to" conclude that Paul "has more compassion in his little finger than" Marie MD has in her "entire being". You are a pompous windbag, blindly following the shenanigans of a libertarian huckster.

    If you would like to go back to living in a cave, and experience having the richest among us determine every aspect of our lives as they fill the power vacuum left by the destruction of the people's government, then vote for Paul. Our culture will come to a halt, and you will soon find that islamic jihadists are the least of your worries. And I can think of nothing more unpatriotic than that. Ron Paul and what he stands for STINKS - it was tried, and it was called the Stone Age.

    December 14, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Chad in Kentucky

    Seems like Mr Clinton was a dark horse candidate whom no one saw coming before he appeared on the national scene and made a move. Obama was also considered a long shot vs Mrs. Clinton. I wish the media would stop trying to short circuit the process to fulfill their narrative and play kingmaker. The fact is that Dr. Paul has the strongest ground game around because he has an energized and passionate base...and that has the potential to be one hell of a vote multiplier.

    December 14, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. AHHH

    Ron Paul bikes more miles most days than most people I know. At 76, he's probably in better health and has better stamina than many of the 20-somethings I know. Mentioning his quote about not knowing how long he can keep it up without including a note that he often jokes about his age/stamina is very misleading!

    December 14, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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