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
It doesn't matter if Paul wins Iowa- he's just too damn weird to win the general election. While I agree with some of what he says, I'd NEVER vote for him as POTUS! Why would anyone? That said- who cares at all who wins Iowa...or New Hampshire? A few thousand people voting in those two states are in no way representative of the country as a whole. These "straw polls", caucuses, etc are just stupid. BTW- I would never vote for ANY of those yahoos. Voting Republican is just not an option in this day and age. The speak out of both sides of their faces...Itheir insistance on lessening government in people's lives (as Perry has said he wants to do) and their insistance that a woman should not have the right to have control over their own reproductive system is just irreconcilable. Imposing Anti-Choice legislation is the biggest form of government intrusion there is. So I'm kicking ALL Republicans to the curb.
If he can't hold up during a "protracted" primary battle, how can he possibly hold up to the stress of being President? Have you checked out how gray President Obama's hair has become since he took office. In addition, Ron Paul is simply insane, as far as I am concerned, and he proscribes to paranoid conspiracies–like his constant rants about the Federal Reserve–and is simply not the kind of person we should want as president. He has never explained how it is that for many years a blatantly racist newsletter was published out of his Texas office, under his name and with his signature. He claims that this was all done without his knowledge. This claim is too preposterous to accept. In fact, the person now known to be responsible for these racist diatribes, is still associated with Mr. Paul.
He must be the last one out of the clown car, are you guys on the right embarrassed yet.
Ron Paul is the only one who has earned my vote. An Obama victory would essentially George W Bush's fourth term, as would a Romney or Gingrich victory. A Paul/Obama debate would be amazing – one for civil liberties, peace and prosperity (Paul), and one for the oldest failed ideas of government (Obama).
True Leader with Pure thoughts will produce solid lasting prosperity. Vote Ron Paul and save the country & the world.
No, Lets leave these comments to the women from California- who seems not to have the mental fortitude to articulate a substantiated comment based on her decision to call all Ron Paul supporters idiots-you are a big part of why our democracy is failing this country-please stop having children and move somewhere where ignorance reigns supreme-then you yourself can rule the multitudes of sheep in your empire.
I voted for Obama in 2008 but will not make the same mistake this time around. Ron Paul 2012
Ron Paul seems like a nice man, but so was Jimmy Carter. His solutions sound so simple they are appealing to many people.
But just like the earth is not a perfect sphere, the issues confronting the American people are not perfectly simple. If we elect a man as President we really don't need one whose view of the world is limited by their personal experiences and simplistic assumptions. Remember that Jimmy Carter said essentially that Americans just need to learn to live with less.
If you don't support Ron Paul it's because you don't fully understand him. Foolish people make up their minds before seeing all the evidence. The real question is if there are enough smart people in this country for Ron Paul to get elected...?
As a Canadian looking in i am always bewildered about how Americans vote, i am not telling you who to vote for, merely stating that for many years Americans seem to be dissatisfied with their government and the choices it makes, all the while voting in the same old scum that are in other peoples pockets. For example if Gingrich (mr void of all morality) where to get in Americans would in the end have no one to blame but themselves.
In short do not believe the pile certain candidates feed you about being different or about them being the change needed i hope you are all not that gullible and remember that all politicians lie. Vote for who you like for their past behavior as it is the best indicator of their future behavior.
If the republican party were smart(which they are not) they would run Ron Paul as their candidate(which they won't) because he's the only one that can seriously challenge Obama in terms of ideology. His candidacy would be a very distinct option versus Obama's while all other republican candidates can only offer more of the same old dogma and BS which doesn't threaten Obama one bit. We do want change and we do want it now it's just a question of whose change we are going to follow. I don't think Ron could win no matter what but at the very least I think it would prompt very meaningful discussion regarding where we must head, something all other republicans are absolutely lacking in their plaforms and positions. At the very least I like and respect Ron's views (don't agree with all of them though) which is a lot more than I can say for all other republicans in the last 51 years!
Congressman Ron Paul is our best choice for the safety of Americans. Our constant presence in foreign nations is causing resentment and hatred against the USA. I do not believe in violence, and can not support the murder of any people or person. Our current administration has killed so many people, and it saddens me. Ron Paul believes in freedom for all, and will not compromise lives for anything. He is also not corrupt like most politicians are.
I'm voting for Ron Paul in 2012.
Paul is an modern day anarchist. In a diverse, dynamic and interconnected world America can't disconnect and expect to remain able to influence our own economy or security. It makes good sound bites to say you're not an isolationist but his approach would only leave America the war option. If you're not at the table plans are made without your input – it's a fact in business and true in world affairs. Our ability to use nuclear weapons to control rogue nations only works in the nuclear scenario. Our greatest threats are economic isolationism, environmental disaster, and trans-national terrorism. None of Ron Pauls "solutions" would work in these arenas. He is the Ralph Nader of the Republican Party – full of popular, simple solutions that can never work in the real world.
It is a sad state of affairs when an actual Intelligent person runs for Masthead of the American Corporate Ship and is subjected to Scurvy because of the lack of Fruition of the Status Quot, which do not entirely comprehend what is actually happening in this world, outside their Gated Communities.
Ron Paul cant win? But Newt can!
Come on anyone who picked Newt over Ron needs their head examined.
He can and will win.
Ron Paul 2012
Still makes me laugh that people actually believe Obama is a Socialist. Makes me irritated that people are so ignorant that they don't realize that this country would not have survived without socialism and that people that are so afraid of "Socialism" that they don't realize that they take advantage of it everyday.
Paul is a sponsor of the “We the People” act, which is similar to the “Constitutional Restoration Act” proposed by Brownback, Tancredo, etc.
These bills would drastically alter how SCOTUS can interpret the Constitution. Paul wants to establish a system of feudal theocracies in the US.
Paul is a sponsor of the “We the People” act, which is similar to the “Consti tutional Restoration Act” proposed by Brownback, Tancredo, etc.
These bills would drastically alter how SCOTUS can interpret the Consti tution. Paul wants to establish a system of feudal theocracies in the US.
Well said, Dr. Alan Price. Well said.
Of course he can win; it's just that far too many people are political morons and have no real idea what his positions really mean for them: more responsibility, less government, more peace, less police state, and more common sense. It's evident by the anti-Paul trolls here, even, who can't give any coherent arguments because they have none.
What, people, are you afraid of? Peace? Prosperity? More freedom? Why does that scare you?
"If you're supporting the Republican Party of today you are supporting an effort to create fascist government."
Then riddle me this, Larry L, why did Obama renew the Patriot Act and continues to keep Gitmo open?
if you havent been to RON PAULS web site and researched him please do not make anymore comments about him , it very much shows just how much you dont know about RON PAUL. fighting for any of the others also shows how much you dont kow about them either. here in florida all i see is RON PAUL signs i dont see anything else. dont believe any of those polls they are media driven. the media can sway those polls any direction they want. they clearly know RON PAUL is in the lead and want to only make him look like hes a little behind.
Dr. Paul does not have the smoothest delivery, but he is the most: honest, moral, intelligent, consistent candidate the GOP has to offer. He offers real hope and will bring about real change. The actions he will take will restore America and return us to a nation of personal liberty and prosperity. Romney and Gringrich are Obama!
Niki, anybody who thinks that Herbert Hoover was one of the worst presidents in history needs to go back and re-learn American history. The Great Depression began eight months into his first term, so it was hardly his fault, and he lost the next election to FDR because the country wasn't out of it yet. Also, if you think there's any similarities between Hoover and Ron Paul on anything other than foreign policy, I think you should go read about what Hoover did while he was POTUS.
What determines if he dosnt win or not? The voters. If you just say "oh he cant win", then you are giving up to the media perception of him. If you truely believe in his ideas, THEN VOTE FOR HIM. The rest will follow.