A spat over 'standing with Israel'
NEW ORLEANS -- Supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who've been moving into the conference today to hear their man speak, have made their presence known with noisy shouts of disapproval when SRLC speakers deliver more bellicose rhetoric. During a speech by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the division was obvious.
"Let the world know this if it knows nothing else," said Pence. "America stands with Israel!"
As most of the crowd rose for a standing ovation, the cluster of Paul fans -- most gathered stage left -- started booing, turning heads in the media section and in the rest of the room. Other SLRC delegates angrily turned on them, chanting (with an irony that amused the Paul fans) "USA! USA!" until they piped down.
While Paul backers came to the SRLC with high hopes and access to over 600 discounted tickets, their presence here is small and jarring compared with their presence at CPAC. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising. The South was Paul's weakest area of the country in the 2008 primaries -- he got no delegates here, and no more than 5.6 percent of the vote in any Southern state.