This story was written by Meredith Simons, Oklahoma Daily
Ron Paul was born half a century before most of today's college students.
But despite being 72, the oldest candidate in the presidential race, Paul is supported by more college-aged people than any other demographic.
During a Tuesday conference call with reporters from college newspapers across the country, Paul began the discussion by explaining what he believes attracts young voters to him.
"I spent yesterday in Louisiana, and the college students did turn out," Paul said.
In every one of this year's primaries and caucuses, Paul has won more votes from Republicans younger than 30 than any other age group. In three of the four contests, people between 18 and 24 were most likely to vote for the Texas congressman.
Paul said he frequently asks college students what attracted them to the movement his supporters have dubbed "The Ron Paul Revolution."
"Generally [their] theme is they like the constitution," said Paul, who is running on a libertarian platform of shrinking the federal government. "They like the principle, and they like the concept of personal liberty," he said.
This is certainly true among OU students who say they are planning to vote for the dark horse candidate.
"He runs on a platform of liberty and the Constitution," Adam Greenlee, University College freshman, said. "I've talked to a lot of people who think he's kind of loony, but really he's just running on the Constitution. I don't think that's radical at all."
"He just adheres to the Constitution," said Anthony Nagid, a film and video studies sophomore whose interest in politics was sparked by an American history class that covered the formation of the federal government.
"He's more sure of himself than the other candidates," Nagid said. "They seem like something that's being marketed to us as a product, rather than as a candidate that has a platform that they will always adhere to."
Eli Lavicky, finance sophomore, said he also admires Paul for his consistency.
"You hear politicians before they run and they'll say whatever you want to hear. Then they get into office, and it's pork barrel spending, and they compromise their values," he said. "But Ron Paul votes against every budget; every farm bill. They used to call him 'Dr. No' because he always voted 'no' on any bill that would raise taxes or increase government spending."
Paul said his fierce dedication to his own political principles has inspired equally passionate commitments from his supporters. "Paulites" are known for being well-organized, motivated, and ready to endure the elements to spread their candidate's message.
"The supporters work really hard, and they're die hard, and they're everywhere," Lavicky said. "You don't see anyone supporting John McCain, standing out in the freezing cold, the way Ron Paul supporters do. These people would sacrifice their kids for Ron Paul. It's pretty amazing."
Paul chuckled when asked about the degree of dedication his supporters display.
"I would agree that supporters get very determined and they're very strong. In my own quiet way, that's the way I've been in my political career," Paul said. "I make a deliberate attempt not to be provocative, but not to ever give up on a principle, either."
Ron Paul on the issues:
Abortion: "The unborn child has legal rights. If I as a physician hurt a baby before birth, I get sued. If there's a homicide it's considered a double homicide... It isn't so much protecting only the mother's rights, but you have this other life to deal with."
Welfare: "Some say it's the responsibility of the government to redistribute wealth, and I see that as an illegal nd immoral use of force."
Evolution: "I don't know why there can't be a combination of a creator and evolution at the same time. A creator could have brought life about slowly."
Stem cell research: "I'm a strong supporter of all kinds of research, I just don't like it when the government gets involved. I take the position that the market should decide. We should neither prohibit nor subsidize it.
Education: "It hasn't been too many years since we didn't have a Department of Education... it was always the parents an churches that dealt with education. But then the states took over and the courts took over and then federal government took over, and then the money left the states and went to the federal government, and all they got back were more regulations and less money."
Reversing the recession: "We have to lower taxes dramatically, we have to cut spending, we have to instill confidence in the dollar... we have to remove the power of the Fed to create money out of thin air, because that is the real culprit that has caused all our problems."
Health care: "We have corporatism. We have government interference. We have less quality, less distribution and higher costs. And so the clamor now is for socialized medicine, and that will make it ten times worse."
Role of the federal government: "The government should be there as a referee. We should have sound money, free markets and property rights. But basic social changes and social improvement, this has to be done voluntarily."
© 2008 Oklahoma Daily via U-WIRE