Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ron Paul Kooks Hitch a Ride With Mitt

No good deed goes unpunished. In an effort at getting out some votes, GOP hopeful Mitt Romney is providing free transportation for potential voters.

But leave it to Ron Paul and his band of blithering idiots to sneak onboard.

Ron Paul’s Camp May Catch Romney’s Bus
Ron Paul’s supporters are actively encouraging Iowa voters to take advantage of Mitt Romney’s offers of free transportation to the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames on Saturday and then, once they are there, to vote for Mr. Paul.

“Some say if Mitt is willing to bus Iowans to Ames for the straw poll, they should take him up on his offer!” says a flier in Iowa and on the Internet in advance of the straw poll for the Republican presidential candidates. The flier says that after riding the Romney bus to Ames, and allowing the Romney campaign to pay one’s $35 entry fee, Iowans should then carefully weigh their options and “they may decide to vote for Ron Paul.”

The flier is topped with a banner that says “2008 Ron Paul News,” but Jesse Benton, a campaign spokesman, said it was the handiwork of independent supporters over whom the campaign had no control. “We can’t tell our supporters what to do or not do,” Mr. Benton said, adding that the campaign did not want to get “entangled” with federal finance regulations involving potential in-kind contributions.

But he conceded that infiltrating the Romney bus could certainly help Mr. Paul. It is his first visible attempt at converting his popularity online into success offline, which, alas, is where it counts.

Mr. Paul, a relatively obscure Congressman from Texas who caught fire online after appearing on the televised presidential debates, has only just started campaigning in Iowa. Mr. Benton said the fact that Mr. Paul was a full-time member of Congress prevented him from campaigning in Iowa sooner, although other candidates have been swarming over the state for months.
Seeing how this odd straw poll is vulnerable to who can pretty much buy votes, it opens the door for all sorts of mischief.
The Paul campaign has bought the minimum of 800 tickets to give to Iowans to vote. Other campaigns have bought thousands. Simple math would suggest that to do passably well, the Paul campaign is relying on Iowans who buy tickets from other candidates to vote for Mr. Paul. The suggestion that Paul supporters catch Romney buses and vote for Mr. Paul is being widely debated on the Internet; some see it as smart while others see it as dishonest.

Mr. Benton would not speculate where Mr. Paul might finish, but said he expected most of the candidates to receive between 1,500 and 3,000 votes. “If we can be somewhere in the middle of that pack, that would be a big success for us,” he said. “Our goal is to prove that we can translate our online support into bodies in Ames and prove we can run with the pack. We feel we have a lot of room to grow, while other campaigns might have reached their peak.”
Keep dreaming.

Still, no matter where he finishes, the wild-eyed Paul acolytes will claim it a success, and they'll still flood online polls as a mean of showing how "deep" his support is.

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