Jan 312012
Authors: Erik Carman

Ron Paul signs crowded the LSC Main Ballroom Tuesday morning as 1,200 eager supporters flooded in –– ushering a sea of blue and white Paul t-shirts.

Fort Collins was the first of three campaign stops, followed shortly by Denver and Colorado Springs.

Leading up to and during the congressman’s speech, the ballroom served as home to fans young and old, cameras, reporters, petitions, musicians and free copies of the constitution.

According to CSU political science professor John Straayer, Ron Paul has proven to be an attractive candidate to a sizable chunk of the country’s youth.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon of an older candidate appealing to a younger generation,” Straayer said, adding that it explains why Paul would have an interest in speaking on a university campus.

In addressing the overwhelming support he has received from America’s youth, Paul said the nation’s young people are causing the old to revive ideas they gave up on years ago.

“There is truly an intellectual revolution going on in this country,” Paul said. “And I’m happy to be able to participate in it.”

The ballroom met its capacity limit of 1,200 people before 200 others were turned to an overflow room where the event was streamed, said one of the event coordinators, junior horticulture major and Youth for Ron Paul member Matt Martinez.

Paul appeared before the mass of his energetic supporters, happy to be before so many “friends of liberty,” he said. He went on to discuss issues such as the need for a smaller government, a non-interventionist foreign policy and an emphasis on personal liberty.

“Once a country lives beyond its means, it’s forced to live beneath its means,” Paul said of federal spending.

“Absolutely, it’s happening now,” said Straayer in a response to Paul’s statements. “If you go too far on your spending, it comes back to bite you.”

Paul spent much of the speech emphasizing a non-interventionist foreign policy, which he believes can be done by ending wars and withdrawing foreign aid.

“We shouldn’t be the policemen of the world,” Paul said, causing another cheer from the audience and a flurry of Paul signs overhead.

This sentiment of Paul’s struck home with senior landscape architecture major Issac McCracken, who served in the U.S. Air Force for six years.

“Conservatives should be about peace,” McCraken said, adding that Paul receives more contributions from active military than any other candidate.

But, according to Straayer, the foreign policy that Paul advocates is easier said than done.

“On the margin you could back off some foreign policy,” Straayer said. He added that he felt there was too much interest retaining aid in several foreign nations, such as Israel.

But, while Straayer said he thought many of Paul’s policies would be unattainable, he was sympathetic to some of his points, such as the war on drugs –– especially when he said prohibition is ineffective and an “unwinnable war.”

“I think more and more Americans are beginning to realize that,” Straayer said in a response to Paul’s comment.

Not everyone at the event was a Colorado resident. Some traveled from around the country to see the presidential hopeful speak.

“We drove here from Idaho Falls,” said James Marshall. “We drove 10 hours through the night”

Marshall, who planned to follow Paul on his campaign throughout Colorado, said the least he could do was attend and show his support.

“We don’t want any of these other politicians,” Marshall said. “Ron Paul is the only honest one.”

Straayer agreed that Paul is one of the most honest politicians running for the presidency.

“More so than any of the other candidates,” Straayer said. “Paul is operating with somewhat of an arm’s length from big money.”

After wrapping up his 30-minute speech, Paul, with his wife Carol and their granddaughter, left the stage and were met by a barrage of handshakes and autograph requests.

“This energizes him completely,” Carol said of the crowd. “He’s happy to come to the colleges.”

Collegian writer Erik Carman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

How long did Paul speak for? 30 minutes
His talking points included: a smaller government, a non-interventionist foreign policy and ending the war on drugs.
How many people showed up? More than 1,200

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