LLR Pages

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This appeared in the Washington Post's blog today. Here's an excerpt of it:

Backers Anticipate Another Big 'Money-Bomb'

Rep. Ron Paul is poised to outraise the rest of the Republican field this quarter, fueled by his rock star status on the Internet.

As of Monday afternoon, he has clocked in $10.5 million, mostly through the Internet.

Such a showing for the Texas congressman has shocked other campaigns -- not to mention the media. Most spectacular was the $4.3 million Paul raised on Nov. 5. But the dollars have continued to roll in: Last week, following the Republican CNN/YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Fla., Paul amassed another $531,000 on Nov. 30.

Compare that to former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.), whose shrewd tapping of the online community raised a total of $751,000 online during the whole of November.

Paul's supporters are planning another "money-bomb," as the candidate's one-day fundraisers are called, for Dec. 16, the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which helped spark the American Revolution.

"Dec. 16th is going to be bigger than the Nov. 5th money-bomb," Jim Forsythe, a former Air Force pilot who leads Paul's New Hampshire MeetUp group, predicted.

What has been most impressive about Paul's online popularity is how it is translating to offline, on-the-ground operation. Forsythe helps organize door-to-door canvassing, while Vijay Boyapati is trying to recruit 1,000 volunteers from across the country to help canvass for Paul through OperationLiveFreeorDie.

Boyapati, a 29-year-old engineer, packed his bags and moved to New Hampshire a few weeks ago to create the online initiative after quitting his job at Google.

That's a little nuts, isn't it, The Trail asked him.

"I get that reaction a lot," Boyapati responded. "It's a little freezing out here, I have to admit. But I feel very strongly about helping the campaign."

A newly naturalized American citizen -- Boyapati was born and raised in Australia -- he hadn't heard of Paul until last year. Boyapati said that Paul's message of limited government and, especially, his vote against the war in Iraq,
drew him to the obscure obstetrician-turned-congressman. Boyapati has recruited more than 400 volunteers so far for OperationLiveFreeorDie.

He is also urging the Paulites, Paul's intensely loyal, Web-savvy supporters, to donate $5 on the site on Dec. 5 to help house the 1,000 volunteers across New Hampshire.