“After his speech, the Texas congressman took questions. The first was from a woman who immediately expressed her adoration. ‘I am actually a Democrat and I am in love with you,” Michelle Godez-Schilling told Paul to cheers from the crowd.

“The candidate put his hands on his face as if he was embarrassed before Godez-Schilling continued. ‘I would like to see you get as many votes as possible, and I feel like my friends who are Democrat, left-leaning, green party, they are not hearing you, so I guess I’m asking, How can I help get the word out?’ she asked.”

“Ron Paul’s portfolio isn’t merely different. It’s shockingly different.

“Yes, about 21% of Rep. Paul’s holdings are in real estate and roughly 14% in cash. But he owns no bonds or bond funds and has only 0.1% in stock funds. Furthermore, the stock funds that Rep. Paul does own are all ‘short,’ or make bets against, U.S. stocks. One is a ‘double inverse’ fund that, on a daily basis, goes up twice as much as its stock benchmark goes down.

“The remainder of Rep. Paul’s portfolio – fully 64% of his assets – is entirely in gold and silver mining stocks. He owns no Apple, no ExxonMobil, no Procter & Gamble, no General Electric, no Johnson & Johnson, not even a diversified mutual fund that holds a broad basket of stocks. Rep. Paul doesn’t own stock in any major companies at all except big precious-metals stocks like Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Newmont Mining…

“At our request, William Bernstein, an investment manager at Efficient Portfolio Advisors in Eastford, Conn., reviewed Rep. Paul’s portfolio as set out in the annual disclosure statement. Mr. Bernstein says he has never seen such an extreme bet on economic catastrophe. ‘This portfolio is a half-step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and nine-millimeter rounds,’ he says.”

“Despite his mantra to stay ‘positive,’ Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich took a swipe at rival Ron Paul on Thursday, suggesting that the Texas congressman’s political base consists of ‘people who want to legalize drugs.’

“During a radio interview with conservative commentator John McCaslin, the former House speaker also said Paul is naive about the war on terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program. ‘This is a guy who basically says, if the United States were only nice, it wouldn’t have had 9/11. He doesn’t want to blame the bad guys. … He dismisses the danger of Iranian nuclear weapon and seems to be indifferent to the idea that Israel could be wiped out. And as I said, I think the key to his volunteer base is people who want to legalize drugs.'”

“As Paul made a campaign stop in Manchester, Iowa, on Thursday, his Iowa chairman, Drew Ivers, repeated Paul’s assertions that he did not write the articles that resurfaced this week in a report in the Weekly Standard magazine…

“‘It is ridiculous to imply that Ron Paul is a bigot, racist, or unethical,’ Ivers said.

“However, Ivers said, Paul does not deny or retract material that Paul has written under his own signature, such as the letter promoting Paul’s newsletters.

“When asked whether that meant Paul believed there was a government conspiracy to cover up the impact of AIDS, Ivers said, ‘I don’t think he embraces that.'”

“Paul is going to need to deal with the newsletter issue more directly than he has so far, especially if he doesn’t want it to loom larger and larger as the stakes get higher. He is actually in control of the issues that most vex contemporary America, which have nothing to do with affirmative action, ‘racial terrorism,’ or the transmission of AIDS via saliva. He is running against Republicans who were for individual mandates in health care long before they were against them or who seriously invoke sharia law as a threat to the American way of life, and he faces a possible general election against a president with low approval ratings precisely because he passed his awful health care, bailout, and stimulus plans, among other things. As Friedersdorf argues, Paul actually has a far better record on matters that directly affect the minorities slagged so disturbingly in his newsletters.

“As I’ve argued elsewhere and often, Paul is providing the alternative that Americans are craving in politics.That alternative, by definition, is going to discomfit conventional politicians and politicos who are more concerned with whether their party is in power than what is done with that power; with whether deficits and entitlements and ‘defense’ spending will bankrupt the country; with whether Americans should be treated like adults when it comes to deciding what to eat, smoke, and drink. Paul is not the perfect vessel for a libertarian message, but waiting for perfection is something ideologues insist on. Most of us are far more interested in someone who at least has shown he understands the most pressing issues of the moment – and the future.”

“And so it’s not hard to see why Paul’s more ardent supporters stand by him: They too find it seductive to believe that the United States is on the verge of utter collapse. The benefit of indulging in such visions is that it sets the stage for the arrival of a savior: This is the role that Paul himself plays, of course. Fiercely independent, uncorrupted by the ‘establishment,’ speaker of unpopular truths, only Paul is capable of saving the country. What are a handful of uncouth newsletters really worth when the stakes are so high?

“What’s important to realize is that this sort of political myopia is endemic to libertarianism. The movement’s obsession with consistency is actually a mark of paranoia. If you’re already persuaded by Paul’s suggestions that fiat money is what ails our economy, that our country’s foreign policy is rotten to its very core, it’s tempting to take the next step and interpret his failure to be nominated as the result of political persecution. Sullivan, thus, complains of a deliberate media blackout against the Texas Congressman, blaming “liberals who cannot take domestic libertarianism seriously and from neocons desperate to keep the Military Industrial Complex humming at Cold War velocity.” There is a bitter irony of course in the fact that a movement so devoted to individual responsibility is so apt to be on the search for others to blame. Paul of course is the prime example: Here is an absolutist libertarian who advocates the ideals of individual rights and responsibility, yet cannot own up to the words that were published under his name, instead blaming it on a variety of as yet unnamed aides…

“If Paul is responsible for conjuring the apocalyptic atmosphere of a prophet, it’s his supporters who have to answer for submitting to it. Surely, those who agree with Paul would be able to find a better vessel for their ideas than a man who once entertained the notion that AIDS was invented in a government laboratory or who, just last January, alleged that there had been a ‘CIA coup’ against the American government and that the Agency is ‘in drug businesses.’ Why, for instance, do these self-styled libertarians not throw their support to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who, unlike Paul, can boast executive experience and doesn’t have the racist and conspiratorial baggage? At this late stage, that Ron Paul’s supporters haven’t found an alternative candidate says more about them, and the intellectual milieu they inhabit, than it does about the erstwhile publisher of racist newsletters.”

“A poll released Tuesday found that in head-to-head election match-ups between President Barack Obama and various Republican presidential candidates, Texas Rep. Ron Paul fared best among non-white voters.

“In a hypothetical contest against the president, the CNN/Opinion Research poll found Paul with 25 percent of the non-white vote…

“Paul campaign press secretary Gary Howard, who is himself an African American, told The Daily Caller that his candidate’s opposition to the War on Drugs has helped him win support from minorities.

“‘The figures in this poll show that voters are looking at Congressman Paul’s decades-long history of fighting for the individual liberties of all Americans,’ said Howard.”

“And if Ron Paul had been president at the precipice of the Cold War? It his hard to imagine him standing up to the Soviet Union and their quest for supremacy. Can you imagine a President Paul articulating the Truman Doctrine? He has derided it in the past.

“Paul is categorically against foreign aid; so the Marshall Plan, which built Europe up after the war and helped it ward off communism, would have been off the table. He is against covert operations, so there would have been no clandestine efforts to buttress liberal forces against the Communists’ attempts to infiltrate Western Europe after World War II…

“It isn’t hard to envision Paul, cloistered in the White House at some point during the Cold War, shrugging at the news that the final capital of Western Europe had just fallen to the Soviet Empire.

“‘Oh well,’ he would pithily remark. ‘Not our concern.'”