Surprising Ron Paul Sparks A Movement

Ron Paul Supporters
Catherine Bleisch, West Port, Mo, leads supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul sing and shout at supporters of Republican presidential hopeful, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, at a campaign stop Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Dan Gill)

His progress has been as gradual as a tortoise on ice, but Ron Paul can no longer be dismissed as the favorite of the fringe, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

Unlike other candidates consigned to the periphery, Paul has refused to go away. He is now in a tie for third in Iowa with supposed top-tier hopefuls.

And in live-free-or-die New Hampshire, he believes his anti-Iraq war, anti-tax, pro-freedom message with its libertarian tinge may resonate.

"People are flocking to the campaign," says Paul. "Maybe they've been starved for a campaign like this."

Paul's trip to Plymouth was promising: one woman told Reynolds that he was following the next president.

"Absolutely! No doubt," she says.

Paul's supporters are fervent - almost feverish - both on the ground and online.

He has used the Internet to drum up the bulk of an eye-popping 18 million dollars in this quarter alone from what he says are frustrated members of both parties and first-time voters. If money talks, Ron Paul is shouting.

"I am surprised," Paul says. "But I'm disappointed that I am surprised. Why shouldn't this be a popular message? Why was I pessimistic?"

He adds: "Why do we assume that everybody wants the status quo? And evidently they don't."