Ron Paul speaks outside Republican convention

Ron Paul
Ron Paul spoke to a group of supporters outside the Republican state convention in Rochester earlier this morning.
MPR Photo/Mike Mulchay

Ron Paul continued his push for a speaking role at the Republican National Convention with an address Friday to supporters outside the Minnesota state convention.

Paul got no help from state party leaders, who refused to allow him to speak inside the convention hall.

In remarks outside the building to about 400 supporters, Paul was highly critical of the Bush administration, particularly on foreign policy and spending.

"He's real. He's honest," said convention alternate Jim VanDell, a retired auto dealership manager from Duluth. "His message is what's needed in America to bring our country back to constitutional fundamentals."

"As far as we're concerned, John McCain is the nominee. Game over."

Paul has continued his reform-minded presidential bid despite Sen. John McCain's status as the presumed Republican nominee.

His Minnesota campaign planned a move under state convention rules to land some of his supporters among the Minnesota Republican delegation to the Republican National Convention this summer in St. Paul.

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They hope that in turn would give Paul more leverage to land a prominent speaking spot at the national convention.

State GOP leadership prefers that the 14-member state delegation unanimously support McCain's nomination at the convention.

"As far as we're concerned, John McCain is the nominee. Game over," said Mark Drake, spokesman for the state GOP. "The national party is united behind John McCain."

Paul told supporters he was more concerned about spreading his libertarian message than adhering to party unity.

In a long speech, he criticized the Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy, argued that the Bush administration misled the U.S. into the war in Iraq and touted his strong opposition to federal spending, taxation and legalized abortion.

"The campaign that is going on right now is the campaign for the freedom revolution, which is going to be going on for a very long time," Paul told the crowd.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)