They are still calling it "quixotic" in the headlines, but at least they are paying it serious attention: Today's Washington Post has a reported piece on the Ron Paul campaign in New Hampshire that actually treats him as a player. Excerpts:
[Paul] has raised more than $10 million for his run for president in the past two months, leaving him well positioned to help swing the outcome of the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, a state well suited to his libertarian, antiwar platform.
And yet it was only late last month that his state headquarters here acquired a basic campaign tool: telephones. For months, Paul's avid supporters were perfectly willing to make campaign calls with their own cellphones…..
Paul admitted how much his election prospects are outside his own control…."They've been out walking the streets all day, and we didn't plan it. We didn't plan the money-raising. It is in a sense a revolution, a grass-roots revolution in the best of its meaning," he said.
Asked if he hopes to exert more control over the effort as the primary nears, Paul demurred. "It's the way I want the markets to work, so the market of politics should work that way, too," he said.
He added with a chuckle: "The only thing that's going to close it down is some [Federal Election Commission] ruling or something: 'That's too much freedom. We better abolish this spontaneity.' "
The campaign's other challenge is deciding where exactly to aim its pitch, because Paul is attracting such an idiosyncratic mix of supporters. Campaign officials say they have relied on mailing lists that include antiabortion voters (Paul opposes abortion despite his opposition to government intervention in other areas), gun owners and opponents of mandatory mental health screening in the schools. But the volunteers working the new phones at the Concord headquarters last week were still doing basic outreach of the sort most campaigns were perfecting months ago, cold-calling voters to find out their favorite candidate and top two issues.
Not that Paul is necessarily competing directly against his rivals. Campaign officials and volunteers alike say they see themselves as striving more to reach residents who have given up on politics……
Hat tip: Daily Paul.