Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul is running a distant fourth in a four-man field and was in the Bay Area Thursday night.
Paul brought his maverick campaign to the campus of the University of California Berkeley and railed against the nation’s military and monetary policies.
The Republican, touting his brand of Libertarianism, drew a crowd of some 2,000 people.
The Texas Congressman received a hero’s welcome from people outside the university library.
Supporters screamed for everything from smaller government to ending the war in Afghanistan.
He specifically addressed this week’s federal raid on Oakland’s Oaksterdam medical marijuana facility.
“If you had state’s rights in California, you wouldn’t have the feds bugging you and coming in here and invading and telling you what you can do with your own body,” said Paul to a round of cheers. “I’m consistent and I am truthful.”
Before the speech, Congressman Paul told KTVU despite his low delegate count, he is still working to win the nomination.
“To present the case for liberty, and make sure that people at least hear this because if I am not to be the president, they certainly ought to know what they should have as president,” Paul said.
His speech was originally scheduled for Zellerbach Hall, but was moved outside to accommodate a bigger crowd.
“His consistency in his views; particularly his honesty is something that we need in politics today,” said Keely Kiczenski, a UC Berkeley junior.
Not everyone who attended the event was a student.
“He’s one of the champions of the constitution; he believes in the fiscal policy, the monetary policy that there should be sound money,” offered Sergiy Pethersky of San Jose.
In his speech, Paul also went after federal monetary policymakers. “They came up with this Federal Reserve System. What in thunder is that all about?” he asked. The answer came back from the audience, “End the Fed! End the Fed!”
“He definitely came on as more genuine, and more down to earth,” said Fatima Mekkaoui, UC Berkeley senior.
Paul can pull big crowds, but to be president he needs to figure out how to turn that into primary votes.
Although former Gov. Mitt Romney is currently leading the Republican race by a wide margin of delegates, Paul said he plans to take his campaign all the way to the party’s convention in Florida this August.
“They’ve only just really started counting the delegates … many states takes a couple of months,” he said. “We’re waiting to find out how many we’re going to get.”
Paul also denied speculation that he might run as a third-party candidate in the November election.
“I’m not making any plans for that,” he said.
Paul visited UCLA on Wednesday and said he might return to California in May.
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