Ron Paul, who was widely ignored by the media and Republican strategists for many months as a serious candidate, is now surging in Iowa and has become a force to be reckoned with.
To further propel his candidacy, Paul is expected to take an aggressive stance tonight against his two main rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. In recent days, he has branded them as inconsistent conservatives who have strayed all over the map to curry favor with voters while Paul has remained steadfast in his beliefs that government should be cut back drastically and individual liberty allowed to flourish.
Paul's performance in the debate could be the difference between a first-place finish in the caucuses and lagging behind.
News media analysts are speculating that Paul, a libertarian and a member of the House from Texas, could actually win the Iowa caucuses on January 3, the first test in the GOP nominating process. A Public Policy Polling survey finds him one point behind front runner Newt Gingrich in Iowa, 20 percent to 21 percent. And Paul has an added advantage because his supporters have the kind of enthusiasm that will motivate them to get to the caucuses no matter what.
Paul is set to begin another fund-raising push to help finance a wave of TV ads in the coming weeks. Given the intense commitment of his backers and the momentum he appears to be generating, he will probably do very well.