If Ron Paul’s fervent supporters were disappointed in his third-place finish in Iowa, they certainly didn’t show it.
“Right now, I’m really excited,” said Cullen Comerford, a 19-year-old college student from Ft. Worth who was one of many young adults who trekked to Iowa from all over the country to help Paul in his battle for the GOP presidential nomination.
Comerford has been in Iowa for a week, attending as many Paul rallies as possible, phoning voters and knocking on doors to support the 76-year-old candidate. “Top three,” Comerford said, “that’s good enough for me.”
And certainly it seemed good enough for Paul, who stood with his wife and family, including his son, Rand, a U.S. senator from Kentucky.
Ron Paul cast his third-place showing as a victory for the libertarian-minded ideas he’s been pushing.
“What makes me feel good about it is you’re doing something because you believe in something,” Paul told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Ankeny. “That is what’s worthwhile. ... How’s the best way to promote a cause? That is win elections – that’s the way you promote it!”
Paul seemed almost giddy as he talked about a recent national poll that questioned respondents about their views on returning to the gold standard – one of his favorite causes.
“How long’s it been since they’ve taken a national poll on the gold standard?” Paul asked.
The crowd of several hundred chanted, “Dr. Paul! Dr. Paul!” (Paul is a obstetrician/gynecologist who often says he’s delivered more than 4,000 babies.)
“I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of, everything to be satisfied, and be ready ... to move on to the next stop, which is New Hampshire,” Paul said.
“I’m not disappointed,” said Mike Fortune, a 39-year-old customer service representative who spoke for Paul at his caucus in West Des Moines. “Reagan didn’t win the Iowa caucus the first time he ran. This really isn’t over.”
Abcarian reported from Ankeny, Iowa. Geiger reported from Washington.