Led by prospective U.S. Senate candidate Murray Sabrin and roused by Assemblyman Michael Doherty, supporters of presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paulheld what they described as a liberty and freedom rally in Fort Lee today.
"We are overtaxed, the policies of our bi-partisan political elite have weakened the security of our borders, our civil liberties are under attack, and future generations are facing an unprecedented liability of $60 trillion to maintain the welfare state," said Sabrin, a professor of finance at Ramapo College of New Jersey, who ran for governor as a Libertarian in 1997.
Republican Paul haspoor numbers in New Jersey. A Quinnipiac University poll this week showed him 2% among likely Republican voters. Former NewYork Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains thefront-runnerat 38%, followed bySen. John McCainat 12%.
But neither the numbers not the cold would deterthis mostlyyoung Paul crowd that gathered on the overpasson the Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge and waved banners and American flags at cars passingbelow.
"I think a lot of young people really identify with Ron Paul because they're afraid of what they're going to be left with," said JayCarlson of Linden, who was among the 60Paul activists on Fort Lee's streets.
Held in thetown where Washington set up key fortifications during the Revolution, the eventdovetailed symbolically with tomorrow's commemoration of the Boston Tea Partywhensome of the candidate's backersplan to attend Paul events in Philadelphia.
"We'remaking our political statement that we want liberties and freedom," said organizer Joseph Fisher of Passaic County, "and we believe Ron Paul is the only candidate who's going to give them to us."
Known as Dr. No because of his relentless opposition to pork barrel spending and to measures – such as the Iraq War resolution vote -he deems unconstitutional, Paul has built an impassioned anti-government following.
"He's the best thing that's happened to the Libertarian movement in years," said Bill Shetlick of Flemington.
As they engaged people on the street during theirwalk from the overpass to Monument Park,some of the supporters drew attention to Paul'spolicy positions, including abolishing the income tax, and pulling the troops out of Iraq.
"There's one guy running for president who's saying 'wait a minute, we can't keep doing this,'" said Doherty in his keystone remarks to the crowd in Monument Park."We need to bring our troops back home. We need to get out of Europe. We need to get out of Korea, and bring our troops to defend the borders of the United States."
A former Army captain, Doherty accused Democrats and Republicans within the Washington-Wall Streetpower structure of trying tomaintain an empire.
"One of the problems(with that)is you have a lot of bills," said Doherty. "And what is our government doing to pay those bills?"
Thesmall crowd yelled back, "Raising taxes."
While they know he's a long shot, Paul's supporters today noted that they submittedfar more signatures than the1,000 required by the state Division of Elections in order to get Paul's name on theballot for the Feb. 5th primary in New Jersey.