Republican nominee John McCain and national party strategists
are attempting to win the support of Congressman Ron Paul, fearing
that without the votes of his supporters it may be difficult to
win the election outright against Barack Obama.
That is the according to a report appearing in the
Times today, however, Ron Paul himself seemed somewhat
confused by the idea stating "I don't know where they could've
gotten a statement like that from."
The Times article suggests that the Republican National
Committee and convention officials have been courting the Congressman
in an attempt to try and gain an endorsement.
The report reads:
Sen. McCain and national party strategists worry
that Mr. Paul's sympathizers will vote for Bob Barr, the Libertarian
Party candidate and former Republican congressman who shares
many of Mr. Paul's views.
After officials at the Republican National Committee
told Paul that he would not be permitted to address the national
convention, because of his refusal to alter his opposition to
the Iraq war, the Congressman organized his own "Campaign
For Liberty" convention.
The RNC also promised to limit Ron Paul's access
to the convention floor, and monitor his movements at the hall.
According to Paul's communications director Jesse
Benton, the Republican Platform Committee, under the control of
McCain's people, also barred Paul from speaking in Minneapolis
last week because he wanted to discuss the foreign-policy planks
in the platform.
Now Congressman Paul's rally, which takes place
today, has sold
out and the McCain campaign is seemingly worried
that it will win over many young and first time voters.
(Article continues below)
The Washington Times explains that a deal of sorts
was being negotiated whereby Ron Paul has said he will speak respectfully
about McCain in return for the convention granting the Congressman's
entourage, including his personal security guard, political aides
and Benton himself access to the floor of the Xcel Energy Center.
This is as close as McCain could possibly hope to
come towards an endorsement from Ron Paul, who fiercely clashed
with the Arizona Senator during the debates last year and has
criticized his views on foreign policy.
Jesse Benton told reporters that moves to gain anything
more from the Paul camp would do the McCain campaign no good because
the loyalty of Ron Paul's supporters is "not transferable".
According to further
reports however, Benton has said that the party is
still yet to agree to the deal which would permit Paul to be accompanied
by a political aide and someone to keep watch over him.
“We thought we had an agreement over the weekend”
enabling Paul to circulate with two aides on the floor among some
260 delegates in his camp. “It looks like there is a hang-up.”
Ron Paul appeared on CNN this morning and confirmed
these details, revealing that the GOP has told him he can come
to the convention floor only “under very, very restricted
Watch the interview:
It would be no surprise if the McCain campaign were
indeed attempting to win over Ron Paul and his "closet sympathizers"
as the Times so derogatorily describes limited government advocates,
given the impact the Congressman has had over the past eighteen
It now seems that the previously ever present tactic
of blackballing Paul, labeling him a fringe politician and attempting
to ignore his strong base of supporters is no longer thought of
as an effective way of dealing with the Congressman and his campaign