NPR, Talk of the Nation Political Junkie: The Republican Presidential Debate, Wednesday, May 9, 2007
NEIL CONAN (Host): This is John. John's with us from Boone, North Carolina.
CALLER: Hello, how are you today?
CONAN: Good, thanks.
CALLER: Great, I just wanted to say that I thought Ron Paul from Texas did a wonderful job in covering the issues during the debate, and I though that he pretty much did better than any of the other Republican candidates. And me being a liberal Democrat, it really surprised me to hear some of the things he had to say.
CONAN: So he had cross-over appeal as far as you were concerned?
CALLER: Oh yes. Very much so, more than any other candidate on either side. [brief cross-talk] Go ahead?
CONAN: I was just going to ask Ken Rudin if he thought that Ron Paul had distinguished himself.
KEN RUDIN (NPR's political editor): He did, because he was the only candidate on the stage who really was clearly against the war in Iraq. He was one of six House Republicans to vote against the war in 2002. He criticized president Bush on the use of habeas corpus, things like that. Ron Paul was clearly... Look, the majority of the Republican party, polls show that they are still behind President Bush and his conduct in the war, but I suspect that there's a sizable minority who says this war is just crazy and that could certainly hurt the Republican party in 2008 as it did in 2006. Ron Paul tried to tap into that feeling. He was the Libertarian party nominee for President in 1988. He has always had this libertarian -- small-"l" libertarian -- viewpoint, representing Texas in Congress. The Chuck Hagel constituency, I don't know where it is or how much of it there is, but Ron Paul certainly reached out for it in the debate.
CONAN: Thanks John.
CALLER: Thank you very much.
CONAN: Last week the Florida legislature voted to move it's primary ahead...