Ron Paul Backer Aims to Snag Travelers

Larry Lepard, a venture capitalist and Ron Paul supporter from Massachusetts, has shelled out about $85,000 of his own money to throw what he told U.S. News is a "small hard rock at a good target": a full-page ad supporting Paul that will run in tomorrow's edition of USA Today—the nation's largest circulation daily newspaper—on the busiest travel day of the year.

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Larry Lepard, a venture capitalist and Ron Paul supporter from Massachusetts, has shelled out about $85,000 of his own money to throw what he told U.S. News is a "small hard rock at a good target": a full-page ad supporting Paul that will run in tomorrow's edition of USA Today—the nation's largest circulation daily newspaper—on the busiest travel day of the year.

He noted that he bought a right-hand position in the newspaper's front section.

"I'm trying to get maximum bang for the buck," said Lepard, 50, a Republican who says his strong opposition to the Iraq war drove him to take out the ad. His firm, Equity Management Association, invests in emerging markets, he said, adding, "I'm good at spotting early trends." The ad, presented as an open letter from the country's Founding Fathers, was designed with the help of supporters on www.RonPaulForums.com, where Paul campaign activists hold their virtual gatherings.

"We think the message is beautiful and pure," said Lepard, who first met Paul nearly two decades ago at an economic conference in New York. "He's not the odds-on favorite, but people have come from relative obscurity before and done it."

—Liz Halloran