Jacksonville, Fla.—Ron Paul may not be mounting much of a preisdential campaign in Florida but that didn't stop his supporters from making the most visible showing outside of tonight's debate at the Univeristy of North Florida. More than an hour before the hall started filling up over 200 Paul backers were marching around the campus and making noise from the beds of pickup trucks. Support for the other major candidates was mostly absent, which left a void that fringe candidates and pranksters were more than happy to fill.
The most notable was the Florida-based Koran-burning pastor turned presidential candidate Terry Jones, who preached his hard-right message surrounded by a dozen supporters in white t-shirts. Meanwhile, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement ran around in Guy Fawkes masks mic-checking and doing whatever else it is that they do now that their camps are mostly gone. Snarky college kids entertained themselves by carrying signs for Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert.
Mix these four groups of people together and this is what you get:
Several campus police officers descended on the scene after the debate itself began, although nothing beyond people yelling incoherently at one another appeared to happen. It also turned out that some of the Paul supporters were not big fans of the Jones crew's zombie-like chanting.
Oh, and Paul supporters were hawking these shirts.