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Iowa Straw Poll: The Ron Paul Revolution

AMES, Iowa -- A fife and drum duo dressed in colonial attire led Rep. Ron Paul's (Texas) chanting supporters into the Hilton Coliseum moments ago.

Paul, who last ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian, has -- without question -- the most vocal backers of any of the candidates actively participating in today's GOP straw poll.

He came to the stage to a huge and long-lasting cheer. "Our campaign is all about freedom, prosperity and peace," Paul said by way of introduction.

Paul urged that Roe v. Wade be overturned, proposed the elimination of the departments of Energy and Education and argued that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "could have been prevented if we had had a lot more respect for the Second Amendment."

Again and again, Paul received loud applause during his speech, most notably when he spoke of defending the Constitution. "The answers can be found in the return to the rule of law and strict interpretation of the Constitution," he said.

The excitement and enthusiasm of Paul's supporters is without question. But does that translate into votes in the straw poll? We shall see.

A few other highlights:

* John Cox, whom most people in the room probably didn't even know was running for president, found a way to unite the crowd behind him. What was the magic recipe? Two words: "Hillary Clinton." He twice mentioned the Democratic frontrunner and even touted himself as the "anti-Hillary."

* Rep. Tom Tancredo delivered one heck of a stem-winder centered on his opposition to illegal immigration. "We are at war for the survival of our republic and our way of life," said Tancredo at one point. He drew HUGE applause for this description of what a Tancredo foreign policy would look like: "The only rule of engagement I am going to have in a Tancredo administration is this: We win, you lose."

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 11, 2007; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Iowa Straw Poll: Huckabee Hopes $ Doesn't Matter

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