MSNBC's David Shuster marvelled on Tuesday that anti-war libertarian Ron Paul "has managed to develop a huge fan base online ... especially among college students" in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
There are almost 30,000 Ron Paul videos on YouTube, and Paul has more than 64,000 friends on MySpace. Many articles about Paul on RAW STORY have received unusually high numbers of hits at story-recommending sites like Digg and Reddit, as well. (For example, Ron Paul: Republicans need Reagan's courage, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson invites Ron Paul to give 'freedom tutorial', and Ron Paul teams up with Dem candidate to end war.)
"I can't explain it," Paul told Shuster. "I'm bewildered but surprised and pleased as anybody else. But all I can say is maybe the message of liberty is very popular with young people."
Paul said that if he had the kind of money the front-runners enjoy, he would use it to promote his message of a non-interventionist foreign policy and personal liberty. "We don't need the Patriot Act, and we don't need warrantless searches and we don't need secret prisons," Paul stated.
Paul said he would support the Republican nominee in 2008 only "if I can find one that'll take the same position I have on the war, that we ought to end it and come home." When asked what he would do with his growing support if he is not the nominee, he answered, "I guess the question is, what are they going to do with me?"
"They've sort of joined me spontaneously, and I'm delighted, but I would work hard to keep them together and to continue the process," Paul continued. Though he cautioned that he had no interest in a third party candidacy, he emphasized that "this group of people now can be very influential. ... I don't think this is going to be just put away. I don't think we can close these ideas off."