Immediately following the Republican Presidential Debate, Ron Paul has received over $1million and counting in donations, according to Ron Paul's Exploratory Committee web-site ( www.ronpaul2012.com ). In addition, based on the latest CNN poll, taken before the debate, "Who does best against Obama? Paul. The congressman from Texas, who also ran as a libertarian candidate for president in 1988 and who is well liked by many in the tea party movement, trails the president by only seven points (52 to 45 percent) in a hypothetical general election showdown. Huckabee trails by eight points, with Romney down 11 points to Obama. The poll indicates the president leading Gingrich by 17 points, Palin by 19, and Trump by 22 points." Paul had a huge lead over Obama among independents in that same poll.
Efforts to marginalize Paul by the Fox News reporters during the debate simply backfired. Paul, for example, got a roar of approval from the on-site audience when, in response to Chris Wallace's question about the decriminalization of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, Paul said that the people of South Carolina were smart enough not to use heroin without being told to by the federal government. Paul's proposal to cut off foreign aid, particular the $3 billion a year going to Pakistan has widespread tea party support. And his decision to attend a tea party rally in Greenville after the debate instead of appearing on Hannity, shows he understands how to seal the deal with South Carolina voters. Don't be surprised to see Paul climbing in the polls over the next few weeks. Given Johnson's performance in the debate, Paul seemed like the "responsible" libertarian. If most of the tea party unites behind him (as opposed to Bachmann or Palin, who both missed opportunities by blowing off this debate), he could easily shoot to the top of the polls. I know there are a lot of Ron Paul haters out there. I'm not supporting him. I'm stating facts. This time, his campaign isn't a joke. It's for real.