Ron Paul greeted by cheering crowd in Lewiston

LEWISTON — Urgent message to Rep. Ron Paul: You're going to need a bigger hall.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is greeted by Paul Madore of Lewiston, state chairman of Paul's campaign, as the candidate takes the stage at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston on Friday night. Hundreds of people showed up to support Paul.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Cheryl Haggerty of Lisbon cheers on Ron Paul with her children, Matthew McGuire, 16, center, and Sarah Haggerty, 8, at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston on Friday. "He's the one who got me into Ron Paul," Haggerty said of Matthew.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Ron Paul addresses a packed house at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston on Friday.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Benton Easton of New gloucester applauds a statement by Ron Paul in Lewiston on Friday night.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks to a packed room at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston on Friday.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Sarah Madore, 2, of North Andover, Mass., cheers on Ron Paul with her sister, Samantha, 4, and her grandmother, Susan Madore of Lewiston, at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston on Friday.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Denise Baker, of Oxford, gets her photo taken with Ron Paul after he spoke at the Ramada in Lewiston Friday night.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Trey Gracie, 11, of Bowdoin, says the Pledge of Allegiance before Ron Paul took the stage Friday at the Ramada.

At the Ramada Inn on Friday night, it wasn't just standing-room only. It was shoulder to shoulder and elbow to elbow, and that was a full hour before the presidential hopeful had arrived.

"We may have to take that wall down," local conservative activist Paul Madore said a half-hour before Paul was due to speak. "And put up some chairs."

They did remove the wall, doubling the size of the room. Still, the space was crammed full as several hundred people showed up early and a few more trickled in late. And if anything was more striking than the size of the crowd, it was the diversity of it: Men and women well past the age of retirement stood next to kids not yet old enough to vote. There were men with beards and men who had shaved and put on suits. There were women in skirts and teenagers in jeans. Parents brought their kids to hear Paul speak and a few teenagers brought dates.

The young and old came in near equal numbers and when Paul took the stage, the applause was thunderous. It went on all night. They applauded when he spoke about the national debt and income taxes. They applauded when he spoke of getting American troops off foreign soil and letting other nations fight their own battles.

When Paul spoke about matters of individual liberty, on the other hand, the clamor grew to something much greater than simple applause. It became thunderous again.

"Turnout has been great for the cause of liberty," Paul assured the room. "The freedom movement is growing by leaps and bounds."

It was what many in the crowd had come out on a rainy, slushy night to hear. They roared their approval and chanted. They pumped their fists and held up campaign signs, showing support for a candidate who embraces personal freedoms above all else.

"He wants to get us back to the Constitution — back to what made this country great," said Barry Bixby, a 53-year-old who made the drive from Hebron to hear the candidate he has supported for years. "This man brings those principles back."

"Right now, I have fears," Bixby said. "Fears of the government. With Ron Paul, I wouldn't have those fears."

The chances of Paul making it all the way to the White House are universally considered to be slight. Even so, some analysts say that being the only candidate to campaign in Maine, coupled with the passion of his supporters, could give Paul a shot at winning the Maine Republican caucus next month.

Madore, state chairman of Paul's campaign, reminded the crowd that applause is not enough. Paul's supporters have to get involved in that caucus to give the candidate a shot at victory.

"This doesn't go anywhere," Madore said, "unless we take part in that process."

If the intensity of the crowd at the Ramada Inn is any indication, Paul's supporters genuinely believe the candidate has a chance. One teenager referred to Paul as a "no-brainer" among the current pool of candidates. Others, including Bixby, draw a contrast between Paul and the others, whom they see as little more than insincere Washington drones.

"Integrity is a big thing with me," Bixby said. "I strive to keep my own and to see that in Ron Paul is comforting, to say the least. He's not motivated by money. He can't be bought."

That was a common theme of Paul's short, energetic speech: The government has taken over our lives and seems intent on getting bigger and more powerful. It passes laws that allow them to spy on private citizens. It has made it legal to imprison or even assassinate U.S. citizens without due process.

"Our problem now is that we've been so careless with the Constitution that there's not much left to it," Paul said.

The candidate's most ardent supporters are those who are tired of being told what to do and when to do it by what they see as increasingly intrusive leaders.

"You can't buy whole milk or raw milk," Madore said, "without the government's approval."

Fortunately, Paul said, more and more young people, leaders of the future, are beginning to understand what is being done to their rights. That fact is illustrated, Paul said, by the number of young people who attend his town meetings and zealously work on his campaign.

"Anybody who believes in liberty has to have a young spirit," he said.

At 53, Bixby says he has such a spirit. Much of his free time, he says, is spent online, talking about political matters with people around the world. Years of deep study and reflection led him to Paul as a favored candidate. No amount of rain and slush could have kept him away from Lewiston to hear that candidate speak.

"This," said Bixby, "is kind of like a dream for me."

Paul's visit to Lewiston was part of a two-day, six-stop tour of the state. He's the only one coming before the caucus. He was the only one to do so in 2008, too. Paul is no stranger to Maine and, he says, there's a reason for that.

"I think we have every reason to be optimistic that we can turn this around," Paul said, "because there's so much enthusiasm out there. People are deciding that we better do something. We can't just depend on the government.

"There's an intellectual revolution going on," Paul said. "And it's alive and well in Maine."

mlaflamme@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Mike Lachance's picture

READ THE BLOG by Eric

READ THE BLOG
by Eric Dondero, former Ron Paul staffer of 12 years.
Quite interesting to learn a bit more about of the Man behind the moonbats.

http://rightwingnews.com/election-2012/statement-from-fmr-ron-paul-staff...

Not worth invading Nazi Germany just to save the Jews.... uhhh... ok.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

And his racist, bigoted, and anti-Semitic newsletters?

Actual quotes from Moon Unit's, er, Ron Paul's newsletters and pamphlets -- with his name on the mastheads -- from the '90s, as detailed today in the Washington Post:

"The articles included racial, anti-Semitic and anti-gay content. They claimed, for example, that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “seduced underage girls and boys’’; they ridiculed black activists by suggesting that New York be named “Zooville” or “Lazyopolis”; and they said the 1992 Los Angeles riots ended “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.’’ The June 1990 edition of the Ron Paul Political Report included the statement: “Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ron-paul-signed-off-on-racist-new...

Yeah, what a candidate in Utopian Anarchy, USA. Population: All too many.

 's picture

I think you need to do some

I think you need to do some more research on this issue.
It has been debunked time and time again
Paul did not write these newsletters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THkz9btU0zY

KRIS KUCERA's picture

They were his newsletters, regardless of who wrote the content.

Sure, he probably didn't write 'em, and might not even be that closed minded. But he did ostensibly sign off on 'em, and it's his name on the mastheads, correct? Yet he won't show his tax returns. Why? Because they'll show he made most of his money from said newsletters with their racist, anti-Semitic, and bigoted content from time to time.

The buck stops where? . . .

Nathan Schultz's picture

Do some research

He has accepted responsibility for those statements being published under his name. There were over 200 publications of said newsletters with six of them containing racist or other defamitory statements only one letter is normally cited and was a special edition with a guest editor. Considering he did not write or edit the material maybe you should look to something he wrote or said to defame his character. He has written 11 books spoken for countless speeches and I challenge you to find one instance of him being "racist, anti-Semitic, and bigoted" using his words.
Throwing charges of racism against a man who treated poor minority people for free as a doctor without accepting medicare or medicade is not only disgusting but shows an inabitlity to attack him on his stance on issues. Those statements may have slipped through in his newsletter because he was to busy being a doctor and studying economics.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

He was too busy . . .

. . . masturbating to Austrian economics classics, I'm sure, to deal with inflammatory content in his own publications. Makes perfect cents. And dollars too.

Gold is certainly shiny, though. Can't argue with you there. But man is it heavy. Double-stitched pockets? Man purses? (It's a European Carry-All, thank you.)

And we shouldn't have killed bin Laden? Paul voted for it before he "voted" against it, right? How quaint.

Nathan Schultz's picture

I wont bother to argue any

I wont bother to argue any points with you the juvinile tone of your statement tells me I would be waisting my time.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

You wanna-be Austrians . . .

. . . have no sense of humor, obviously. Or sense of spelling.

 's picture

"While I find a few of Dr.

"While I find a few of Dr. Paul's positions to be shallow and short-sighted (Israel, among others)"

That is because you, Mr. Lachance, like Pavlovs dogs, are incapable of critical thinking. By the way, Netanyahu agrees with Ron Paul. Current US policy actually harms Israel. Ron Pauls stand would benefit Israel.

Mike Lachance's picture

(ADDED) "Current US policy

(ADDED)
"Current US policy actually harms Israel."
Are you referring to Obama's policy on Israel, Bush's Policy, Clinton's, Reagan's or Carter's?

All (5) policies are clearly different in scope, goals and execution.

Please Pick your preferred policy out of the above (5), then we can compare apples to apples and we'll all know Bob Wrights true colors.

It might take some critical thinking skills of your own to limit your diatribe to the above five policies. But I know you can do it.

"None of the above" is not an answer to the direct question.

Mike Lachance's picture

Incapable of critical

Incapable of critical thinking? Really?
Bob Wright, I dont know who you are, or what you believe (you havnt said anything or relevance or consequence here) but I can tell you with 100% certainty, youre assumption of my capability and analogy of my likeness is pathetically misguided and wholeheartedly afoul.

I will say this though; the absolutel over-sensitive touchiness of Ron Paul aupporters begs the monicker "Moon Bat" as stated by another poster here.

Moonbat? sure... youre earning it.

I guess when it comes to Ron Paul, we must be 100% in or we are incapacitated pavlovian drones... Laughable. Shallow. Dangerous. Much like the O-bots.

Nathan Schultz's picture

I am a Ron Paul supporter

Mr. Lachance,
I would like to say that one should not judge a candidate by the words of those that support them. And I think it is the responsibility of those that support Ron Paul as well as others to refrain from name calling and attacking peoples opinions while attempting to inform about their understanding of the candidates policies.
On the issue of Isreal I believe we do an injustice to Isreal by acting like a big brother to them and telling them how to handle their own affairs. We should be an ally to Isreal but not send them money or try to interfere in their relations. Isreal has the ability to defend themselves considering they have over 100 nuclear weapons and are the only nation in the region that can make such a claim. One thing that seems to be glossed over is that Dr. Paul wants to end the foreign aid to Isreals enemies as well.

Mike Lachance's picture

Thanks Nathan. We agree on

Thanks Nathan. We agree on much. However, it is to be noted that Ron Paul has stated in words and prior statements that he would not defend Israel even if they asked. He is isolationist by many accounts and statements. This, in a nutshell is the concern of many. He has great ideas, but takes a few of them a bit too far for common sense.

Nathan Schultz's picture

I find it hard to believe

I find it hard to believe that taken in context Dr. Paul has said in uncertain terms he would not defend Isreal. He does not like to speak in certaintees, which I have heard him say, and also believes strongly that it is congress that declaires war and the president is commander in chief of the forces. What could be more common sense than that?
When I was a small child before I can remember Reagan called One Trillion dollars an unfathomable number now we run that up in debt every year and there is absolutely no sign of it slowing down. When I hear Mitt Romney say "we will have a military so strong no one will want to challenge us" I worry what that means. With 865 bases around the globe not including those in Afghanistan and Iraq what does a stronger military mean. While the democrats compromise to spend money on the populace and their corporate freinds the republicans compromise to spend on the military and their corporate friends and all the while nobody seems to worry we are going to leave those that come after us completely defensless because they will be crushed with debt and unable to fund a strong defense.

Mike Lachance's picture

Don't worry. I will not be

Don't worry. I will not be voting for Romney. I'll stay home if he is the nominee.

As far as Ron Paul, please read the entire blog by Eric Dondero:
http://rightwingnews.com/election-2012/statement-from-fmr-ron-paul-staff...

 's picture

If you're going to vote for

If you're going to vote for and support Romney then you might as well support Obama because if Romney becomes the nominee there is no way on God's green Earth he will have the votes to beat him.

Another 4 years of Obama is something the country can not afford but even if Romney was pull out a miracle and beat Obama his policies are/will be almost identical so the real losers here are the American people.

 's picture

My apologizes my reply was

My apologizes my reply was not meant for you

Nathan Schultz's picture

I read it.

The author claims ron paul does not believe Isreal has a right to exist. In 1981 Ron Paul refused to support a resolution condemning Isreal for attacking an Iranian nuclear facility citing their right as a soveriegn nation to defend themselves. The author continued on as a staffer long after he learned of what he says are Dr. Pauls views. Why would he choose to work for him for all of those years and now decry the "views" of Dr. Paul. I will stick with what I have heard Dr. Paul say and write and a long track record that does not fit what this author has written.

Mike Lachance's picture

You say: "The author claims

You say:
"The author claims ron paul does not believe Isreal has a right to exist"

In fact you have not quoted the author at all. Eric states:
"He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all."

Big difference. Wishing a problem nation "didnt exist" is not the same as believing a problem "doesnt have a right to exist".

Terribly warped mis-quote.

Ron Paul believes in the soverign rights of nations, which we all agree on.

I've worked for employers whom I began to displike and after a while there comes a point where one says enough is enough. If we all quit at the first disagreement where would we all be?

A 12-year staffer with a personal, political and behind-the-scenes operational relationship with Ron Paul hold alot more clout than what campaign spin spits out.

I stand by my concerns about Ron Paul. He's at the top of the current tier of GOP candidates and I dont discount him as a viable POTUS nominee... but he has some rather dangerous views in areas of foreign policy. The reality of the World stage today is daunting and cold. Isolationism is good on paper but bound to tragic failure in real-world practice.

Nathan Schultz's picture

Sorry

You are absolutely correct I did misquote him.

I would refer you to Netenyahu's speech before congress where he states that Isreal does not need the US to defend them and they can defend themselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_ECgLpwPg4

As far as the rest of his foreign policy, the president does not have the authority to unilaterally attack another nation war is declared by congress. We are not in the cold war and we posses the technology to defend ourselves without being an empire that dictates to and occupies other nations.

Thank you for the respectful tone and I do appreciate the insights but when Ron Paul is stating that we should do for isreal exactly what Isreal is asking of us what is the problem?

Mike Lachance's picture

The problem is when we

The problem is when we project a message to the world (middle east, islam, etc) that we will no longer back up Israel, it emboldens Israel's enemies. When Israels enemies are emboldened it heightend the tensions in the middle east. When tensions in the middle east are heightened the increases Oil prices. When Oil prices are increased it stresses the world economy. When the world economy is tressed, nations tend to act and react more extremely. When Isael and Islam are stress and reactionary it heightens military sensitivities and taxes cultural tolerance / intolerance.

Israel is the only democracy in the middle east. Without the support of the US the entire region becomes a tinderbox. While I agree we dont "need" to support every aspect of Israel, we MUST make it clear that when the &*$# hits the fan we will side with Israel. If we do not make that stand we can count on that tinderbox igniting rapidly and without delay. Israel is a nuclear nation and by allmeans they *can* defend themselves. However, the US imparts the biggest influence on Iraeli foreign policy, and without our support they too could become a rogue nation that pays little attention to the wishes of impartial neighbors.

Ron Paul's ideas in this area seem sound on paper, much like most of his positions, but in the real world stage we are faced with, his ideas could easily become a recipe for disaster.

Just my view on this, but my views are shared by many others who otherwise find his platform very solid.

Nathan Schultz's picture

"we MUST make it clear that

"we MUST make it clear that when the &*$# hits the fan we will side with Israel". Agreed but if &*$# did hit the fan congress would most likey declare war on the nation or nations involved and a President Paul would take our country to war win it and come home and other nations would be aware of this. This should always be the stance of the United States. We fight when the nation, not one man, feels that we have to. We are the strongest and most well equiped military in the world and other nations know that and do not want to go to war with us even if we are stationed a little further away at home.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Outflanking Mike on the Right?!?

Oh no you didn't! *snapping fingers*

Wow, that's uncharted territory -- so far right it's almost left. But with ammo stores everywhere, I'm sure.

Mike Lachance's picture

I'm more-or-less disgusted

I'm more-or-less disgusted with the GOP field this election cycle. (And that in no way is an endorsement for ANY Democrat)

While I find a few of Dr. Paul's positions to be shallow and short-sighted (Israel, among others) I will say he is the most logical candidate on either side of the political spectrum.

Up until Herman Cain was pushed out of the race, I would not have supported Ron Paul. However, the ousting of Cain has left a huge foul stench in the minds of many GOP voters.

Ron Paul is a viable candidate for POTUS at a time when the Dems and Repubs are equally too squishy and far too self-absorbed to do whats right for the United States.

 's picture

It was great to finally have

It was great to finally have Rep Paul come to Lewiston. Both myself and my fiancée were in attendance and it was a truly impassioned speech.
and we support fully support his campaign and his message of peace and prosperity

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