Rep. Ron Paul easily won what might be called the Texas shootout in the California Republican Straw Poll Saturday, with the Lone Star state congressman finishing first among GOP presidential contenders with 44.9 percent of the vote and Texas Gov. Rick Perry coming in second at 29.3 percent.
Paul’s victory wasn’t particularly surprising, as overwhelming numbers of his fans turned out for the fall Republican convention in the Golden State, the Los Angeles Times reported
“Raucous cheers and whistles and whoops and screams — one could be forgiven for wondering if they were for an elderly 11-term House politician or Justin Bieber — announced Paul's presence outside the doors. He then entered to another round of cheers and camera flashes,” the Times reported.
Conventioneers heard Rep. Michele Bachmann speak Friday night, and Paul and another GOP presidential candidate, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, Saturday morning.
The Times chronicled the following quotes from Paul’s address as getting the most applause:
- "We have endless wars overseas and endless welfare at home. We can't afford that anymore; we have to change those policies."
- "We do need an absolutely thorough audit of the Federal Reserve.”
- "What is the purpose of government and political action? I think the main purpose of our Constitution and political action should be the preservation of liberty."
- "It would be nice if we had a lot more respect for the rule of law."
- "You ought to have a right to work hard, and you ought to have a right to keep what you earn."
- America's role is to have a strong national defense, "not to be the policeman of the world."
Enthusiasm Paul generated throughout the day extended to the straw poll tally Saturday night, in which Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished a distant third at 8.8 percent and Bachmann, fourth at 7.7 percent. Then came Jon Huntsman at 2 percent, Herman Cain at 1.8, and Newt Gingrich at 1.7. The other candidates failed to break 1 percent.
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