"Ronstock" Rally Rocks Philly

The weather gods smiled favorably on Ronstock in Philadelphia, possibly the largest Ron Paul campaign event to date.
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Monday the money gods smiled favorably on Ron Paul's presidential campaign with a record breaking single day fundraiser that brought in $4.2 million. On Saturday the weather gods also smiled favorably as the cloudy and rainy sky cleared up just in time for the start of "Ronstock", a celebration of peace and freedom for thousands of Ron Paul supporters who gathered from all parts of the country at Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Paul spoke extemporaneously and at considerable length, addressing his signature issues of peace abroad and freedom at home. The crowd responded enthusiastically to every serving of antiwar and antigovernment rhetoric.

Prior to the rally Ron Paul met privately with a group of supporters who, hopefully for the campaign, would donate a sufficient amount of funds that will at least partially pay the high cost of having the rally in Philadelphia.

In keeping with the Veteran's Day theme the campaign emphasized veteran's issues and support for the troops by ending the war and bringing them home. The campaign reserved space and set up chairs near the podium for hundreds of veterans who showed up to express their support for Paul's candidacy. Army veteran and country music artist Rockie Lynne got things started with a tribute to the veterans. John Holland, leader of an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of POW/MIA issues, spoke in support of a bill sponsored by Ron Paul that would open up government records pertaining to their status. New Jersey State Assemblyman Michael Doherty, a West Point graduate with three sons in military service, endorsed Ron Paul and said it was time for the US to stop being world policeman and do more to defend its own borders.

The campaign set up a tent with Internet service for media and bloggers reporting live from the rally. Comprehensive video coverage was available on justin.tv, and CNN had limited coverage on their web site. Among the bloggers was Kent Nowviskie, a veteran from West Virginia, who reported that one group of supporters, "Hoosiers For Paul", drove 12 hours from Indiana. Another blogger, Brad Porter, noted that he thought this was the biggest political rally he had ever been to and it was clear now that Ron Paul was attracting a lot more support than just 9/11 conspiracy theorists, libertarians, and web geeks. Ron Paul himself acknowledged at the end of his speech that he thought this was the biggest rally of his campaign so far, and it proved there was more support for his candidacy than a few dozen spammers on the internet.

Crowd estimates varied but prior to the rally the campaign reported approximately 2500 rsvp's on the rally's web site. Most observers who were there, including bloggers, reported at least two thousand and maybe as high as three or four thousand which would be about what the campaign and rally organizers expected. The Communications Director for the campaign reported about 5,000. The steady rain, coupled with cold and windy weather, until just prior to the rally likely impacted attendance. Regardless, it appears to be the largest Ron Paul campaign event so far.

Demographically, from observing various pictures and video of the rally, the crowd probably reflected the base of Ron Paul's support: predominantly white, middle-aged males. In many ways it is remeniscient of the kind of support for another antiwar paleoconservative populist who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, Pat Buchanan. And most of us remember who won the New Hampshire primary that year.

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