DENVER, CO – On the same day as the Florida primary and with just one week remaining before Colorado Republicans head to caucus on February 7, 12-term Texas Congressman Ron Paul campaigned along the Front Range, stopping in Denver for a noon rally and town hall.
The longshot Republican candidate spoke before a raucous, standing-room-only crowd that greeted their favored presidential aspirant with rousing chants of “President Paul!” and “End the Fed!”
“Sounds like the revolution got here before I did,” Paul said in his opening remarks.
Those in attendance were decidedly younger than typical GOP primary voters, and Paul was quick to point out the “under 30” category that comprises a sizeable chunk of his following early on, quipping that “freedom is a young idea, and that’s where the enthusiasm comes from.”
Paul held forth on a variety of topics in his campaign stump speech, ranging from monetary policy and free market Austrian economics to foreign policy and the limit on executive powers.
“We need to restore confidence in the cause of liberty and restore confidence in the Constitution,” said Paul.
“We’re getting the young group, the college-age group energized, a lot that have felt frustrated in the past, that have not had a spokesman, they have been just disgusted with the fact that too often we elect one party versus the other and not a whole lot changes,” said Paul, referencing his outside-the-box, non-traditional presidential campaign.
Paul took aim at the Federal Reserve, telling supporters that once an audit of the central bank is conducted, “the people will end the Fed,” drawing thunderous cheers.
Paul’s themes of personal liberty resonated with the more than one thousand in attendance.
“You have the right to run your life as you choose but you also should have the right to keep the fruits of your labor,” said Paul. “I’ve met a lot of people in Washington who have said that freedom is too risky for the people because they won’t take care of themselves…I would say that I’m willing to bet on you and the rest of the people of this country to take care of themselves a lot better than the government can take care of you.”
“We have to reject this notion that more people can be taken care of by government planning and economic intervention,” said Paul.
Paul then quickly turned to foreign policy, decrying “outrageous spending overseas,” eliciting hoots from some of the veterans who could be found throughout the audience. “No more wars without a Congressional declaration.”
Accompanied by his daughter, Dennis Weaver of Littleton, Colorado expressed his support for Paul. A caucus attendee in the past two elections, Weaver remained hesitant to commit to attending the Republican caucus next Tuesday, but he acknowledged that Paul’s candidacy was pushing him towards reengaging his activism. “I know what he’s all about and I’m here show some support for him.”
Weaver also plans to attend an appearance by Paul’s GOP primary rival, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, on Wednesday in Lakewood, Colorado. “He [Santorum] is pretty conservative, but value-wise, I lineup best with Ron Paul.”
Paul’s campaign has placed a number of online ads targeting former Speaker Newt Gingrich on several prominent Colorado blogs in the run up to the February 7 non-binding straw poll.
Paul’s granddaughter and his wife, Carol, accompanied him on his Colorado swing. The couple will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary February 1. The swing also included a campaign gathering on the campus of Colorado State University earlier in the day, and a late afternoon rally in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Republicans moved their non-binding caucus forward one month from its usual March date to February 7, 2012. In 2008, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and current GOP frontrunner won the Colorado caucus handily with just over 60 percent of the vote. Paul came in fourth that night, with 8.4 percent.