Dubuque, Iowa (CNN) - Ron Paul pressed the flesh on Thursday in Iowa, rushing from one event to the next, fully aware that time ticked ahead of the state's January 3 caucus.
As the Republican presidential candidate covered ground – scheduled for four stops in the state - he also covered a maze of familiar themes. One realization seemed clear to the campaign: time is short.
"I hope that you will turn out on caucus night, in just 12 days," Paul's Iowa vice-chairman David Fischer urged the crowd just after the candidate's speech in Dubuque.
"Now we don't have a lot of time. We've got to move to our next event pretty rapidly. But we do have just a couple of moments for a few questions from Iowa voters," Fischer added.
One question was of particular interest to the Texas congressman.
"I am actually a Democrat and I am in love with you," one woman said, prompting laughter and cheers from Paul's loyal supporters. "I guess I'm asking, how can I help get the word out?"
"It sounds like you would be a very good ambassador," Paul responded.
Yet the candidate also brandished the kind of talk that earns the ire of many of his fellow Republican.
"I do get a lot of support from Democrats and independents, sometimes every once in awhile people, the old-line traditional Republicans - not the ones that are at the executive committee in the party," Paul said.
Paul is leading or near the top in several recent polls in Iowa, proving that his libertarian message of non-U.S. military overseas deployment, ending the Federal Reserve, deep spending cuts and dramatically scaling back government involvement in people's lives is resonating.
Yet the candidate himself admits he's fighting a belief – from many conservatives – his ideas and proposals are so out of step within his party that he'd never win the Republican nomination. Paul and his supporters frequently beat back that notion.
Meanwhile, the candidate has faced increased scrutiny over racially incendiary newsletters published under his name. When pressed by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, on Wednesday in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Paul was defensive – and eventually ended the interview.
The candidate reiterated comments he'd said in the past, "I didn't write them, didn't read them at the time, and I disavow them."
Supporters did not question Paul on the newsletters at his early events on Thursday, leaving Paul to discuss his preferred topics.
Among them: criticizing the National Defense Authorization Act – a measure recently signed by President Obama that outlines defense spending priorities but also contains controversial provisions regarding terror detainees.
"Frequently I have talked over the years about a revolutionary change in this country. Revolutionary in the sense of a change in ideas. Not - I'm trying to prevent the violence," Paul said. "Cause if we continue to do this, there's going to be a lot of difficulties on the street."
"And then if you have the laws change where people can get picked up and say, 'Well, you're causing trouble and it looks like you're disturbing the peace and you might belong to al Qaeda and you're a terrorist' and then they haul you off. So this is what we have to prevent, we have to prevent this."
–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN