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Hard to ignore

"Hard to ignore" Continued...

It seems inarguable though that Paul may have an organizational advantage among the top three, since Romney's campaign was late to commit to the state and Gingrich only recently found his financial footing and rehired a couple of veteran Iowa campaigners. Dropping by Paul's combined state/Polk County office in Ankeny in December, I found 10 younger adults at work there. And as Wallace pointed out, Paul's backers have an enthusiasm level that makes them highly likely to show up on caucus night.

Supporters are as likely to refer to their candidate as "Dr. Paul" as they are "Congressman Paul." He showed up in Boone with a SUV and a white minivan, instead of the decorated bus that other campaigns have chosen. Unassuming in demeanor, he has been combative throughout on his deep policy differences with the rest of the GOP field. In debates in the summer and early fall, before Paul's Iowa poll numbers changed the focus, he was often positioned near the outward edges of the row of eight candidates. Paul and Rick Santorum, a hawk on foreign and defense policy, tangled several times while the then-frontrunners focused on each other.

Now finally part of the discussion, Paul has entered the ad war that is rapidly heating up on Iowa's airwaves, with a message calling for deep spending cuts and touting the authenticity of his record, while another blasts the "serial hypocrisy" of the front-running Gingrich.

Stepping to the podium in Boone, David Fischer told the Iowa audience they have a chance to vault Paul into contention in other states: "Let's help Ron Paul magnify this message for Americans to hear."

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