This story was written by Breanne Schmidt, Daily O'Collegian
His name is on signs stuck in street corners' grass, stickers plastered on cars and scrawled in dripping spray paint on Stillwater walls and fences.
Ron Paul and his "rLOVEution" campaign, is popular among voters 18-29 and is the front-runner in a Facebook poll, with 35 percent of the vote. However, a state-by-state breakdown of the Facebook poll revealed that Mike Huckabee leads with 39 percent of Oklahoma's younger Republican voters and edged out Paul by 9 percent.
Rudy Giuliani is the front-runner with 27 percent of voter support. The same poll showed Paul earned 4 percent of voter support, according to a December Gallup poll.
Paul's campaign broke records on Dec. 16 when about 30,000 online donors contributed more than $6 million in one day, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
UWIRE, an online university news service, organized a conference call with Paul and selected 13 campus newspapers, including The Daily O'Collegian, to participate in a question-and-answer session on Tuesday.
He discussed his campaign's appeal to younger voters and how his campaign differs from mainstream candidates' campaigns.
"Generally the theme is they like the Constitution - the young people like that - they liked principle. And they also like the personal liberty - that it's your life, you choose. And people don't like to be controlled by the government," Paul said.
He said he attributes a lack of attention from major media and campaign financing for the lag in non-collegiate supporters.
"All I can do is continue to do what I'm doing and hopefully they'll be a continued upsurge in the interest," he said. "It's still a big challenge for us, but that's what the campaign is all about."
Paul has drawn fire for his domestic policy, including his plan to dismantle the CIA, FBI and the Department of Education, according to his official Web site.
Those institutions control how people live their lives and take away personal freedom, he said
"I just work hard to try to prove, you know, to show that a consistent defense of liberty means you don't use force in any area, whether it's social issues or economic issues. Liberty is one entity. You don't have personal social-type liberties separate from economic liberties - they're one in the same," Paul said.
Paul's campaign centers on personal freedom and civil liberties, according to his official Web site. Despite this, Paul opposes abortion and supports limiting federal courts' abilities to interfere when states pass pro-life legislation, according to his campaign Web site.
"Some would say 'Well the restriction put on the woman is an act of violence, because you're telling a woman what she can do with her body.' The only question that exists is whether or not there's another human life," he said. "We're not supposed to have the government come into our homes, but you can't kill a child."
His campaign also focuses largely on the state of the economy and what can be done to mend it. He advocates creating policies and methods to prioritize the government's spending.
"I think that people are, you know, who study this, will come around to gradually understanding this. Especially when they're seeing the total failure of the welfare state. And that's what's happened to our financial markets today, is that the welfare state and Socialism just plain doesn't work," Paul said.
Despite his lag in the polls, Paul said he would not run third-party if he fails to earn the Republican nomination, nor would he drop out of the race early because he wishes to "honor that commitment and should continue."
Paul has plans to continue striving to win support in key states over the next few weeks, including February 5, or "Super Tuesday" when 22 states hold caucuses, according to his Web site.
"Our next step is to make sure our message gets spread more broadly," Paul said."I believe that momentum is going to continue, especially with young people.
"All I can do is continue to do what I'm doing."
© 2008 Daily O'Collegian via U-WIRE