Republican candidate Ron Paul broke some difficult news to his followers Wednesday night: He bluntly admitted that he won't win the GOP presidential nomination.
This has been obvious to most Republicans and media analysts for many weeks, but many of Paul's die-hard supporters have refused to accept it. Now the candidate himself is urging his backers, probably the most committed of any candidate's this election cycle, to acknowledge the stark reality that he will fall short.
Paul's goal is apparently to ratchet down the expectations of his followers and discourage them from staging confrontations or disruptions at the Republican National Convention this August, when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to be nominated on the first ballot. Romney has already exceeded the 1,144 delegates needed for the GOP nod, according to the Associated Press and other independent media organizations.
Paul tried to put his campaign in historic terms. "We stand to send nearly 200 bound delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa," he said. "This number shatters the predictions of the pundits and talking heads and shows the seriousness of our movement." http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/06/ron-paul-i-wont-be-the-nominee-125509.html He went on to say that his campaign has "several hundred additional supporters" who will go to Tampa as delegates and "who, while bound to Romney, believe in our ideas" of individual liberty, limited constitutional government, and mimimal U.S. military intervention abroad.
Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas with a strong libertarian ideology, added: "We will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the convention floor. That is just over 20 per cent and while this total is not enough to win the nomination it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP."
He urged his followers: "Stand up for what we believe in. Be respectul. And let the establishment know that we are the future of the party and of the country."
His supporters are trying to arrange a three-day "Ron Paul Festival" leading up to the national convention, but the Republican National Committee controls most of the potential venues and has not given approval for such a gathering. GOP leaders are concerned that Paul supporters will become frusrated and angry, and might respond by attempting to embarrass Romney.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.