Friday, November 23, 2007

Paul baffles pundits with maverick GOP bid

Presidential long shot's popularity, fundraising success stuns the field.

Jose Antonio Vargas / Washington Post

STRAFFORD, N.H. -- There's no mistaking which house on Lake Shore Drive, about 45 minutes northeast of Manchester, is the one full of Paulites -- the almost fanatical supporters of Rep. Ron Paul. Signs are everywhere. On the back window of a brand new black Toyota, on the bumper of a green Geo: "Ron Paul 2008."

"We can run the whole New Hampshire campaign right here," says Jim Forsythe, 39, from his driveway. "We're the hard-core supporters."

Like Paul himself, the Paulites are against the war in Iraq, against the growing federal bureaucracy, against the Department of Homeland Security, the income tax, against, as Forsythe says, "politics as we've known it."

In a state where Patrick Buchanan upset Bob Dole, the GOP front-runner, more than a decade ago, anything is possible, says Andrew Smith, a pollster and director of the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center.

Whatever their backgrounds, the Paulites have catapulted a GOP candidate often described as "eccentric" into a spotlight. Read more.

No comments: