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The Ron Paul Backlash Hits Fox

By Jose Antonio Vargas
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Folks in downtown Manchester must be getting a little cranky right about now. All that tooting, honking and screaming? It's the Ron Paul wagon, of course.

And it's in full protest mode.

No campaign's supporters, not even Obamamaniacs, can match the fierce intensity of the Paulites, Congressman Paul's loud, passionate -- some say obsessive -- disciples. They took to the streets hours before the Fox News-sponsored Republican forum that excluded the Texas congressman, who, as Paulites are quick to note, is the top money-raising Republican in the fourth quarter.

And he placed fifth in Iowa -- well ahead of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"How can Fox hold a debate without him? I mean, Dr. Paul is attracting more people to his movement than any Republican out there. You see any Mitt Romney supporters around? Any Giuliani supporters? Any McCain supporters? We're it," Vijay Boyapati told The Trail. Last fall Boyapai, a former engineer at Google, quit his job, packed his bags and headed to New Hampshire to campaign for Paul.

If they can raise record amounts of money online, they can surely take over downtown Manchester, where they're waving signs ("Dr. Paul cured my apathy," "Ron Paul Revolution"), protesting in front of city hall on Elm Street, making a pitch to anyone who'll listen. "You gotta Google Ron Paul," a Paulite tells a woman in a black turtleneck walking her way to a restaurant.

While I'm typing this, a young man wearing a big, black parka yelled, a la Mel Gibson in "Braveheart": Freeeeddddoommm!"

And now, they're heading to the forum itself.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 6, 2008; 6:56 PM ET
Categories:  Primaries , Ron Paul , The GOP  
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Next: From the Throng, Chris Matthews Tries to Book Clinton

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