Adam Bace screams out his support.
Ron Paul declined an opportunity to speak to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, claiming that the presumptive nominee Mitt Romney has tried to overly control the message and stifle diversity of opinion. As the party has moved further and further to the right during a campaign in which Romney tries to rally the conservative base, the libertarian Paul held his own convention-like rally at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome, ten miles away from the official goings-on at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Mary White of Rathdrum, Idaho, with her portrait of Ron Paul.
The Romney campaign wanted to approve Paul’s speech beforehand, and get his endorsement as well. Paul opted out. The Paul campaign lost a credentials fight for Maine delegates, but garnered over 200 delegates despite not winning any state primaries or caucuses. They promise to symbolically oppose Romney’s nomination, against the tide of “party unity” or “being on message”.
Keaton Green, Nicole McQuillen, Caroline Wallace and Luisa Laitano, all 17 years old and attending St. Petersburg High School, in the crowd that waited five hours for Paul to speak.
Introduced by his son Rand Paul, senator from Kentucky, Paul spoke for over an hour to thousands of cheering supporters at what he called the “We are the Future Rally”. He emphasized his disdain for foreign wars and warned of the continuing erosion of civil liberties. On these issues Paul is far to the left of the rest of the Republican Party. But on the role of government, he would like to absolutely eliminate many federal agencies. It’s his signature mix, marginalized by the party establishment.
Seventy-seven years old and retiring from Congress, this may be Ron Paul’s last campaign.
PHOTOGRAPHS by LUCIAN PERKINS / facingchange.org
Lucian is currently photographing the Republican and Democratic Conventions for The Washington Post