Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is standing up to billionaire Donald Trump, which is likely to endear Paul to his libertarian supporters more than ever as the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary approach.
Paul, a representative from Texas, told CNN's State of the Union yesterday that Trump's plan to moderate a GOP presidential debate in Iowa December 27 is "clown-like." Paul added that the Republican presidential candidiates who are meeting with Trump to get his blessing are unwise. "I don't quite understand the marching to up to his office," Paul said in the kind of blunt show of independence that he is known for. "I didn't realize he had the ability to lay on hands and anoint people."
In reply, Trump, who got extensive publicity earlier this year as he considered and finally rejected running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, told the New York Daily News, "Few people take Ron Paul seriously and many of his views and presentation make him a clown-like candidate."
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, another GOP presidential candidate, has also questioned whether Trump should be the moderator of the debate in Iowa, which is co-sponsored by NewsMax. But Huntsman has done so in a much milder fashion than Paul.
In a move designed to bolster his support in the two key early-voting states, Paul is running a clever, hard-hitting ad in Iowa and New Hampshire underscoring his reputation as an un-politician. Entitled "Big Dog," the commercial says most politicians start "whimpering like little shih-tzus" when it comes time to cut government and slash spending, but not Ron Paul. "What's up with these sorry politicians?" the ad asks, and the narrator says, "Department of Education? Gone. Interior? Energy? HUD? Commerce? Gone. Want to Drain the Swamp? Ron Paul. Do it."
A new Des Moines Register Poll shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the lead among Iowa Republicans with 25 per cent, Paul with 18 percent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 16 percent, and 11 per cent undecided.
Both Iowa and New Hampshire hold their nominating contests in January.