Ron Paul To Speak At U. Pittsburgh Thursday Night

This story was written by Liz Navratil, The Pitt News
Yet another presidential candidate will add his name to the list of politicians visiting Pittsburgh in anticipation of Pennsylvania's April 22 presidential primary.

Republican candidate Ron Paul, in an event sponsored by the College Republicans, will give a speech in the University of Pittsburgh's Bellefield Hall at 9 p.m. Thursday.

The doors will open between 8:45 and 8:50 p.m. Admission is free and tickets aren't required, though one of Paul's representatives suggested using a link on the campaign's website to RSVP.

Responding will not assure a spot inside the hall. It merely helps campaign organizers anticipate the size of the crowd.

John Baird, the graduate student who helped organize Paul's event, said that the hall can hold approximately 600 people and that there will be room for overflow in the hallways. Doors will be open and speakers set up so people can hear the message coming from inside.

Exactly what Paul's message will be is unclear.

One of Paul's representatives, Jeff Frazee, suggested that the speech will resemble many of his other addresses -- he will include information on Iraq, American civil liberties, freedom and prosperity.

However, Baird said he asked Paul to put a special emphasis on public health. Baird said Paul, a former obstetrician and gynecologist, brings a different perspective to the table.

Baird said Paul is "a classic Barry Goldwater Republican," and as such he is more conservative than his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

He said he appreciates Paul's emphasis on the individual's ability to prompt change and his tendency to seek "individual solutions as opposed to government solutions."

Baird said that most of the feedback he has received about the event has been positive. He said he was talking to a friend about Paul's visit one day and another student overheard them. The other student interrupted them, saying he had just finished writing a paper on Paul and was looking forward to the event.

"There's a lot of support for Ron Paul in Pittsburgh and on campus in general," he said.

He also noted that Paul is a Steel City native.

Among those anticipating the candidate's visit is Robert Tamburo, a leader of the Ron Paul 2008 Meetup.com group. Tamburo said he is particularly fond of the message Paul's visit will send to Pennsylvania Republicans.

"It is a great way to let the constitutionalists and conservatives of Pittsburgh know that, despite the reports by the media, they still have a choice in this election," Tamburo said in an e-mail.

Tamburo said he will remain an ardent supporter of Paul despite the fact that McCain is widely favored to win the Republican primary.

For Tamburo, voting for Paul is a moral issue.

"Political elections are no longer about voting for principles," Tamburo said. "They have become popularity contests, a horse race, a choice between the lesser of two evils.

"Finally, in this election, I will be able to vote for someone with principled integrity, someone that represents my beliefs."
© 2008 The Pitt News via U-WIRE
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