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Ron Paul: Spoiler Or Savior?

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AP has an interesting article today about Paul’s effect on New Hampshire:

Fergus Cullen, the New Hampshire Republican party chairman who is neutral in the race, said Paul’s campaign has sent more campaign mail to households than any other organization has. Radio advertising is heavy, although paid television advertising has been relatively modest so far.

Current polls in New Hampshire show Paul in single digits. But Cullen said, “I believe there is more support than public opinion polls are picking up. I believe that he is appealing to anti-establishment Republicans and independents, and there are a lot of them.”

Independents account for about 42 percent of the electorate in the state, and outnumber both Republicans and Democrats. Cullen predicted the Texan would poll more than 10 percent — a significant threshold because it would guarantee him at least one delegate to the GOP nominating convention next summer.

But folks, will he REALLY be a spoiler or is he pulling more people into the Republican fray? How about neither…

He said he doubts Paul will hurt any candidate more than another. “I believe most of Ron Paul’s supporters would probably not participate in the primary” without him in the race, he said.

He’s an independent candidate with an independent message. He will neither spoil the GOP primaries or save them. He could be a bit disruptive for a candidate, but that’s about it. Because the majority of people who are voting for Paul wouldn’t vote for any of the GOP candidates.

Meanwhile, Paul suggests that Huckabee’s religious x-mas message could be seen by some as a harbinger of fascism.

Err…

UPDATE:
A commenter points out that Paul clarified the statement:

Our thanks to “Brucevdk” for sending us a link to this video. It shows Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul talking about what he meant Tuesday when he said on Fox & Friends that GOP contender Mike Huckabee’s “Merry Christmas” TV ad make him think of a quote often attributed to writer Sinclair Lewis that “when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.” (Check our post on what Paul said if you want to see the more than 500 comments it has generated.)

If you fast-forward in the clip Brucevdk alerted us to, to about 1:07:10, you’ll see and hear Paul say that he didn’t mean to single out Huckabee, but that he does believe the nation is headed toward “fascism” or “corporatism:”

“Well unfortunately it was an unfortunate comment made at the wrong time, because I have no interest in addressing my opponents by name, or whatever they do, or their ads.

I believe him, but that was certainly a tough gaffe to make. And he’s still not backing down from the actual statement itself, just that it was directed at somebody.

Long story short, it will be a lot easier to paint Paul as anti-religious.