Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul seems to be peaking in Iowa at just the right time, with his standing in the polls very solid and starting to rise.
There are several reasons for this, according to GOP strategists. Paul's vision of libertarianism is probably the clearest of all the candidates' messages, an important asset at a time when many voters are upset with politicians who compromise their principles and break their promises. His backers are probably the most passionate of anyone's in the race, and people are volunteering for him in droves. And he is getting some of his most positive news coverage since he entered the campaign.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, Paul said Republican front runners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney "come from the same mold" because they have both changed their minds on fundamental issues so frequently. He said all his opponents for the GOP presidential nomination "fit into the status quo."
Paul is tied for second place with Romney, behind Gingrich, in Iowa, the first state to hold a nominating contest with caucuses on January 3. according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Beyond that, he is in third place in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary on January 10. A good showing in Iowa should lift Paul there and in other early-voting states.
Paul, a GOP representative from Texas, is drawing big crowds, often a sign of increasing momentum. He attracted more than 1,000 people at Iowa State University last Thursday and 700 at the University of Northern Iowa on Friday.
Just as important, Paul seems to be gaining more credibiity by the day. For the first time, many news organizations are covering him like a serious candidate.