WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Ron Paul is banking on a heavy youth turnout Tuesday in Iowa to lift his outsider bid to win the state's lead-off presidential caucuses.
The Texas congressman ignited huge applause at a youth rally for several presidential candidates on Tuesday, hours before voting in the evening's precinct caucuses was to begin.
Paul, who at age 76 is older than some of the students' grandparents, tossed out singer Kelly Clarkson's name during his talk but acknowledged not knowing much about the pop singer who has endorsed him.
Paul said he was somewhat puzzled by his support from young voters, but attributed it to a search for clarity by a cynical youth. "One reason is they identify with the Constitution, and I defend the Constitution."
Paul narrowly trailed Romney in Iowa polls in the last weekend before the caucuses, but had slipped some after coming under attack for views on foreign policy outside his party's mainstream. Young voters have typically been less reliable in the caucuses than voters over 35.
And while he traveled around the state Monday to rally supporters to turn out, Paul's aides sought to project confidence after Paul told ABC News he did not necessarily envision himself in the White House.
"Who knows where I'll be or what I'll do or what contribution I'll be making," Paul said in the interview.
Paul drew big enthusiastic crowds in Iowa Monday, hopping by private jet from Des Moines to cities in the east and north. He credited his statewide campaign organization, more highly structured than the apparatus that helped him reach fifth place in the 2008 GOP caucuses.
Paul said he considered his campaign as much a movement to rid the government of fiscal waste and excessive overseas commitments as it was an effort to seek the presidency.
While Paul does not plan to travel to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire until Friday, he said he has high hopes of competing well there on Jan. 10. He is airing advertisements in South Carolina, the first Southern primary state, which holds its nominating contest Jan. 21.
However, he admitted that the path to the nomination beyond South Carolina is "a challenge."
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