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For months, the mainstream media has been portraying U.S. Rep. Ron Paul as an “angry lone nut” with an army of loons as his supporters. And while those loons are great for voting in straw polls and non-scientific online surveys – they’re never going to form the nucleus of a movement that reaches beyond the fringes of the electorate right?


Meanwhile Paul has done his best impersonation of “Uncle Fluffy” during the recent presidential debates, occasionally hitting the right notes but generally meandering through his answers  like a guy more interested in complaining than making a point.

So with the media showing the candidate no love … and the candidate showing little to no aptitude for the medai … Ron Paul’s campaign remains an afterthought, right?


Not exactly …

The army of Ron Paul “loons” is growing – particularly in early-voting Iowa, where a pair of recent polls shows Paul in second place (including one that puts him in a statistical tie for the lead).

“These numbers are a confirmation of Congressman Paul’s principled message,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton. “The American people are ready for real change in the way things are done in Washington, and Ron Paul is the only candidate who will fundamentally change the status quo, by offering serious cuts in spending, bringing our troops home, and restoring our economy to bring prosperity back to America.”

We rarely agree with the pablum spit out by political campaigns, but it’s hard to argue with Benton’s conclusion. Ron Paul walks the walk … and for all his own eccentricities (and the quirks of his followers), there’s clearly a growing appetite for that.

Even Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post – who has spent the last few months praising every move made by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – has taken notice.

“Texas Rep. Ron Paul, long dismissed by the GOP establishment as a fringe candidate, has broadened his electoral appeal and emerged as a major player in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses,” Cillizza notes.

Cillizza maintains that Paul will still have troubling breaking out of the fringe mold, but adds that “Paul’s rivals ignore him at their own peril.”