There was little doubt that Ron Paul would run for President, but he officially announced his candidacy on ABC’s Good Morning America at 7 a.m. today. Oddly, he chose Friday 13, proving that at least he’s not superstitious. GMA’s George Stephanopoulos was generally kind towards Paul throwing him several softball questions. He did ask about Paul’s criticism of the killing of Osama bin Laden, but let Paul give an uninterrupted lengthy answer in which he critiqued the entire process including the war in Iraq. In explaining that there was a different way to do this, Paul compared the killing of bin Laden to the handling of Nazi war criminals at the end of WWII: ”They were hunted down, tried, and hung.”
Paul’s problem, as usual, was his lack of message discipline. On the one hand he gives extemporaneous answers to the most obvious questions, like “Why are your chances better this time around?” He gave a rambling response to this question, finally saying that after 30 years, “the country has come around to my point of view.” On the other hand, he tries to give a specific answer to every question, like: ”Should we have FEMA to help flood victims?” Paul said, “Why should we expect people in New York to pay for my house on the Gulf Coast?” Even many of his supporters agree that if he is going to have a chance, he is going to have to be more scripted this time around. That probably won’t happen.
Following his appearance on GMA, Paul will have a campaign kick-off rally in Exeter, New Hampshire. Paul perceives that he has a much better chance in the state whose motto is “Live Free or Die”, than in Iowa, where many of his positions are in conflict with the values voters who dominate the Iowa caucuses. But unlike four years ago, Paul is not betting that he will win the Republican nomination. He seems to be more interested in spreading the gospel of unadulterated libertarianism than being President.