When U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said in a GOP presidential debate Sunday that American troops should never have gone into Iraq, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney objected, asking Paul if he had forgotten about the terrorist attacks on 9-11.
Paul’s local supporters shook their heads in bewilderment over Romney's interjection.
"Most of the Republicans are trying to get us to believe we went to Iraq to hunt Al-Qaeda," says Ken Biretta of Ewing Township, spokesman for the grassroots network, Mercer County Ron Paul 2008 Meet-up Group. "They neglect to mention that Al-Qaeda was not aligned with Saddam Hussein. In fact, they were opposed to Saddam."
Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, who in 2002 voted against the resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to go to war in Iraq, is lagging in the polls. But his credentials as a fiscal conservative and his consistent anti-war record have made him a darling of a small but dedicated group of supporters.
"Our membership is currently at 58 members in Mercer County," says Bireta, who led a contingent to Pittsburgh last Friday to hear Paul speak at a rally attended by over 800 supporters, according to local media reports.
Bireta’s group receives campaign supplies like bumper stickers and signs paid for Ron Paul for President but no additional funding.