After Strong New Hampshire Finish, Ron Paul Not Backing Down

Second to Romney, Paul proves he is still very influential in GOP race.

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Rep. Ron Paul's second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday was powered by his passionate support among independents, young people, and other voters who are rebelling against the status quo. Paul showed that the strength of his ideas will remain a powerful force in the Republican race.

Paul told jubilant supporters, "We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight" because his libertarian message was proving more popular than ever.

He said he had congratulated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on his victory but added impishly, "We're nibbling at his heels."

[Read the U.S. News debate: Will Mitt Romney Be the GOP Presidential Nominee?]

"We are dangerous to the status quo of this country," Paul said proudly, drawing cheers from the crowd.

It was the second consecutive strong finish for Paul in a GOP nominating contest, following his third-place finish behind Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in Iowa on January 3.

The U.S. representative from Texas repeated his call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from many of their assignments around the world, which he says is costing too much and accomplishing very little or actually hurting America by alienating potential friends. "It's the time to bring them home," rather than "policing than world," Paul said.

This view is anathema to many orthodox Republicans who argue that America needs to remain militarily engaged, but Paul hasn't backed away. And this endears him to many voters who admire his straight talk and his refusal to knuckle under to pressure.

  • See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.
  • Read: Ron Paul Defends Mitt Romney Against Opponents' Attacks.
  • See pictures of Republican Candidates Campaigning in New Hampshire.