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A Tough Crowd Greets Ron Paul

Ron Paul caters to a select group of Republican voters -- small-government conservatives with strong libertarian leanings. They populate places like rural New Hampshire and the Mountain West. And, odds are, they're not at this weekend's Values Voter Summit. The people in attendance are typically suburban and are often indifferent toward many of the issues Paul, a Texas congressman, talks about, like monetary policy. And in the case of the Iraq War, Paul and evangelical voters are on opposite sides of the argument: Paul has opposed the war in the start, while a recent CBS News poll found that evangelicals still support a continued presence in Iraq.

Paul seems to bring a dedicated following wherever he goes, but the Summit crowd's reaction to Paul's message was decidedly mixed -- aside from the young group wearing his t-shirts. Cheers for abolishing the Department of Education -- which many conservative Christians feel has contributed to the secularization of public schools -- but only a smattering of applause for other positions, like taking troops out of Iraq to patrol the border with Mexico, or repealing the 16th Amendment (and with it, the income tax).

Paul's position on same-sex marriage also doesn't go as far as many here would like. He wants to pass legislation removing marriage cases from the jurisdiction of federal courts, thus making it a state-by-state issue. But the constitutional amendment many conservative leaders support would ban such marriages in the states as well.

Still, Paul told that the Values Voter Summit crowd isn't too different from that of other Republican events he's attended. "They're very receptive to maybe 90 percent of it," he said, adding that evangelicals who believe he's overly cautious about protecting civil liberties agree with him after he explains himself. "Their civil liberties need to be protected to so their ministers can say what they want in the pulpit."

As for the 10 percent Paul and the Summit audience don't agree on? "It's mostly the war," Paul said. "They've been taught by too many that this war was necessary when it isn't."