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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jesse Benton: Ron Paul Is Still Running

Ron Paul's top communications director Jesse Benton tells the Washington Post that that Ron Paul is not out of the presidential race yet, because his revolution is changing the face of the GOP and the nation.

Here's an excerpt for those who are interested:

As the Democratic presidential candidates held pre-primary rallies yesterday in Indiana and North Carolina, and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain spoke to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, another major-party presidential candidate continued his own quest for nomination, headlining a 'Freedom Rally' on a Fort Wayne, Ind., university campus.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) told supporters in early March, through a Web video, that he knew he was no longer in the running for the presidency, and aides said his campaign would be 'winding down.' But it turns out Paul never stopped running for president.

'He put out a video in which he said victory in the conventional sense was not available to us, but there was still much the campaign could try to accomplish,' Ron Paul 2008 spokesman Jesse Benton said yesterday. 'People in the press reported that as him dropping out when he was not dropping out.'

Paul's campaign has shrunk from a high of more than 150 staffers before Super Tuesday on Feb. 5 to around 15, according to Benton, and his record-breaking Internet fundraising operation has turned off its online ticker. But with more than $4 million in cash on hand, his campaign says there is no good reason to stop.

He is still racking up votes, for one thing, having garnered 16 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania's Republican primary on April 22. And his supporters are still active at the grass-roots level: GOP officials abruptly canceled the Nevada state convention when it became clear that Paul's backers outnumbered those for McCain and stood ready to take control of the delegate process.

Paul's campaign hopes to turn such support into upward of 50 delegates for the party's national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in September, where he is gunning for a speaking slot.

There's also the matter of Paul's book. 'The Revolution: A Manifesto' hit stores on April 30. His campaign is prohibited from selling it, but a continued presence on the speaking circuit is sure to stoke sales. (The book debuted at No. 1 on Amazon.com's 'Hot New Releases in Books.')

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