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A Paul on Paul Supporters: 'Crazy in a Good Way'

CONCORD, N.H. -- The country has already been introduced to the Five Brothers Romney, a.k.a. Tagg and the Gang. But there is another candidate's quintet lurking in the wings, ready to do what it takes for their father: the three sons and two daughters of Rep. Ron Paul. In a sign of the newfound intensity of the Texas libertarian's insurgent bid for the Republican nomination, his offspring are hitting the road for their dad, just as is common in more conventional campaigns.

Today, it was Rand Paul, a Kentucky opthamologist, who swept into New Hampshire on his father's behalf, appearing on radio talk shows and speaking to audiences at such genteel settings as Colby-Sawyer College and St. Paul's School. It is the younger Dr. Paul's fourth campaign visit to New Hampshire, and he expects to return to the region for a campaign rally planned for this Sunday in Boston marking the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and paired with a national fundraising "money bomb" for the campaign. One of his brothers, a family doctor in Fort Worth, has campaigned for his father across the Midwest, and two other siblings have part-time organizational roles in the campaign.

Rand Paul, a 44-year-old who shares his father's slight build and bright, impish smile -- though he favors a more colorful wardrobe (orange shirt, blue tie, green cords) -- marveled at the movement that has sprung up around the campaign, particularly in New Hampshire. "It's sort of organized chaos. These people are crazy," he said in an interview with The Trail, before adding quickly, "Crazy in a good way."

Paul was optimistic about the campaign's ability to have a major impact in New Hampshire, noting that the rise of Mike Huckabee in Iowa could set back the current New Hampshire front-runner, Romney. "If Huckabee brings Romney down a couple notches, and if we pull off an upset here, it could be Romney staring at the exit signs," he said.

On previous visits, he said, he had drawn blank stares when he gave his name. On this visit, he said, his handshakes at restaurants met with knowing remarks. Still, he acknowledged, he does not get anything like the wild reaction that his septuagenarian father does. He hopes that may change at the Boston Tea Party celebration, when he will likely be the only Paul family member in attendance.

"I've always wanted to be a rock star," he said. "I'm trying to get them to play that Kiss song, 'Calling Dr. Love.' I'd love to have the band there do it as 'Calling Dr. No,'" the nickname given his father for his lonely libertarian stands in Congress.

As that quote suggests, Rand Paul and his four siblings will not be mistaken for the clean-cut Romney brood, though they too have done well in the grandchildren department, with 18 among them. "You'd have a hard time ever having me and my four siblings with our shirts tucked in at the same time, whereas the Romneys have everything in order," he said. "We're a little more laid back."

As for his dad, Paul let on that the candidate, despite leading a raucous movement focused on individual liberty, is actually about "as square and conservative a person you'll ever meet." When Rep. Paul went on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last month and met Tom Cruise backstage ("Go! Go! Go!" Cruise told Paul), he later admitted that he could not recall what movies Cruise had appeared in. "I think the last movie he saw was when he took us to 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,'" said his son.

--Alec MacGillis

By Washington Post editors  |  December 10, 2007; 7:15 PM ET
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