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If Ron Paul was disappointed in last night's Iowa caucus results, it didn't show.

The Republican Congressman from Texas finished a strong third behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, but certainly served notice that he's a factor in 2012.

Paul wanted some legitimacy and a bigger platform for his movement, and by securing over 20 percent in the first-in-the-nation caucuses, he's on his way.

On stage before a cheering crowd Tuesday, Paul said winning elections is the best way to promote a cause, and that he was one of three winners last night:

Claiming a ticket out of Iowa, Paul vowed to continue his fight, even as GOP rivals such as Newt Gingrich, Romney and Santorum dismiss him as unelectable.

Iowa voters thought otherwise, taking to Paul’s small-government, anti-war and pro-civil liberties message in enough numbers to lift him into the top tier.

Evangelicals, home schoolers, young people, moderates, libertarians and disaffected Democrats formed an unlikely coalition that led to his strong showing.

Can it be replicated or improved upon elsewhere? That's the key question.

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Politicians (or at least interns with access to official campaign accounts) need to fall in line with the rest of celebrity culture and talk trash on Twitter more often.

On a night in which he finished a strong third after the hotly-contested Iowa caucus results were tabulated, Ron Paul took a hilarious shot at Jon Huntsman online.

Paul personally did not write this, but someone with access to his Twitter did, and the campaign even owned up to it, rather than use the "hacking" defense. Look:

Hilarious Paul Tweet

Huntsman, the former Utah governor who skipped Iowa to focus on next week's primary in New Hampshire, has been hitting Paul in the latter state in recent days.

Paul's campaign hasn't engaged him directly, but they clearly noticed.

The Tweet was nixed shortly after it posted, but Paul spokesman Gary Howard said it was mistakenly deleted and was later re-posted. He told Politico the following:

"I think someone mistakenly deleted it. I think our IT guy didn't know it was being tweeted when he saw it, thought someone hacked it. But it wasn't hacked."

"It was our tweet. We said what we wanted to say."

Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said in response:

"We find it odd that Congressman Paul would attack Gov. Huntsman in such a childish fashion. Just the latest in a long line of odd statements from him."

Game on in New Hampshire, gentlemen!

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The closest Iowa caucus results in history produced a near draw, with Mitt Romney winning by just eight votes over Rick Santorum and Ron Paul a close third.

Romney, considered the favorite in the Republican presidential race quest, did not notch a commanding win that could have ended the primary process early.

However, a win's a win, and after a year in which one candidate after another sought to be the conservative alternative to him, a pretty impressive one at that.

Mitt Romney Photo

Even more remarkable was the finish of Rick Santorum, whose candidacy was so moribund just weeks ago that many wondered why he was still in the race.

The former Pennsylvania Senator was neck-and-neck with Romney, the one-time Governor of Massachusetts, for all of Tuesday night and into this morning.

Romney being declared the winner by a mere eight ballots early Wednesday. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was a close third with 21 percent of the caucus votes.

“We will go on,” he said in an upbeat speech. “There is nothing to be ashamed of.”

The race was so close, Romney couldn't even claim victory in his speech. With 99 percent of the vote counted, he and Santorum each had 24.6 percent.

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With just one day remaining before the Iowa caucuses kick off the GOP primary process, Ron Paul dinged surging rival Rick Santorum for being a fiscal liberal.

Paul said the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and staunch social conservative, who has gained traction of late, voted for too much spending while in Congress.

"I mean, have you looked at his record? Go look at his record," Paul told CNN.

Accompanied by son Rand Paul, Ron continued: "He spends too much money. He wasn't leading the charge to slash the budgets and vote against big government."

Rand Paul, who was elected to the U.S. Senator from Kentucky in 2010, added that Santorum's voteing history proved he wasn't a true conservative.

"He voted to double the size of the Department of Education," Rand Paul said. "He voted to expand Medicare and add free drugs for seniors and he has voted for foreign aid."

"Those are not conservative principles ... 77 percent of the American people are opposed to foreign aid and Rick Santorum has voted for it every time it's come down."

Ron Paul, who is running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney and Santorum in Iowa, again addressed a potential third-party bid should he fail to win the GOP nomination.

"I have no plans in doing that," Paul said. "Tomorrow is a big day. We'll see what happens but I have no intention of doing that, no plans and no desire."

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Michele Bachmann is railing against Ron Paul and Kent Sorenson, who left his post as head of her Iowa campaign effort to go work for her rival instead.

Presidential hopeful Bachmann implied that Paul, who is running much stronger in Iowa, bought off her key staffer a week before the state's caucuses.

"Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign," Bachmann said in a statement to Fox News.

"Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams."

"Kent said to me yesterday that 'everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn't I?' then he told me he would stay with our campaign," Bachmann added.

"The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions."

In response, Paul's campaign said Bachmann's Iowa political director "unequivocally stated Kent Sorenson's decision was in no way financially motivated."

Sorenson attributed his decision to Paul's higher standing in polls, where he is battling Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for the top spot.

Jesse Benton, Paul's national campaign chairman, welcomed the endorsement from Sorenson, himself an Iowa State Senator, before the Jan. 3 vote:

"Congressman Paul is delighted to accept the endorsement of Senator Kent Sorenson, whose blessing and assistance carry a great deal [of] weight."

"He doesn't take this decision lightly, which says a lot about the senator and Ron Paul." He also picked up an endorsement from Kelly Clarkson this week.

Can he pull off a masterstroke and upset the field next week? Stay tuned.

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Original American Idol Kelly Clarkson made a surprise endorsement in the 2012 Republican presidential race last night, throwing her support behind Ron Paul.

This did not go over well with some fans.

“I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance,” she wrote of the candidate. “If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.”

  • Ron Paul Picture
  • Kelly Clarkson Live

Many of Clarkson’s 925,000 followers took issue with her support for the Texan, citing the alleged racism and homophobia of Paul's old newsletters.

“That’s because you willfully ignoring his voting record, his statements, interviews, newsletters, and policy positions,” one follower Tweeted at her.

“You are obviously living under a rock. I don’t even live in the United States and hear about his stupidity,” Tweeted another fan from abroad.

Clarkson tried to maintain calm, responding:  “I am about progress. Ron Paul is about letting people decide, not the government. I am for this.”

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Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum surged into third place in a new Iowa, and the Republican Presidential hopeful took this piece news as an opportunity to slam one of the two people ahead of him: Ron Paul.

A CNN survey showed Santorum with 16 percent support in Iowa, in advance of the January 3 caucuses. Mitt Romney has 25 percent and Paul 22.

Santorum, who struggled to gain traction for an entire year, finally has in part due to Newt Gingrich's collapse. Asked about Paul’s support, he said:

Santorum and Paul

“Ron Paul says he’s going to eliminate five departments. Ron Paul passed one bill in 20 years. What give you the idea that he can eliminate anything?"

"I mean, he has absolutely no track record of building any kind of coalition to get anything done anywhere,” Santorum said. “I understand the appeal that Ron Paul has: it’s simple, it’s short - but there’s no track record there.”

“What people in Iowa like about Ron Paul is all of his economic talk which requires Congress to act of which he has showed no ability to get them to do.”

“What they don’t like about Ron Paul is this craziness about cutting the military in half and getting our troops out of everywhere. He can do that. He can actually order that on day one - all our troops around the world to come home.”

Santorum called Paul's foreign policy “far to the left of President Obama.”

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Perhaps taking a cue from Jimmy Kimmel's hilarious Christmas challenge of filming loved opening the worst gift ever, this girl's parents got her ... a Ron Paul book.

Paul, the Texas Congressman and presidential candidate, inspires passion like no other political figure. Unfortunately for his chances, it's not always positive.

Watch her open the magical gift and express her gratitude:

[We're sorry, this video has been removed.]

Safe to say those aren't tears of joy, but rather disgust over Paul's libertarian viewpoints ... particularly as they pertain to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It's also safe to say she won't be pulling the lever for Dr. Paul in 2012, but plenty of peeps will for the same reasons. Enough to win? Only time will tell.

One thing is for sure: Love him or hate him, Paul gets a reaction!

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GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul appeared on Fox News Friday and was asked about a possible third-party Donald Trump run, now that he's become an independent.

Paul is not concerned.

“To each his own, he may do it. I doubt he’ll do it," he said. "If he really wanted to be president, why walk away? Why is he concerned he couldn’t do it as a Republican?”

“I have no idea what he is going to do,” Paul said.

“I don’t think he will be calling me for advice. I don’t think he will ask for an appointment to come see me to get advice or an endorsement. I’m not expecting that.”

Your World host Neil Cavuto asked the Republican hopeful why he never "kissed Trump’s ring" like many of the other candidates had over the past year. His reply:

“I didn’t think it was necessary or appropriate ... How could he endorse what I’m doing? My positions are pretty much opposite of what he talks about."

"He doesn’t believe in free market. He likes the Federal Reserve. He is not a free trader. He likes tariffs. So there is not a lot we have in common.”

That about sums it up from Paul's perspective.

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GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul furrowed his eyebrows, growing agitated before taking off his mic and walking away from CNN interview about his old newsletters.

As Paul has gained traction in recent polls, the media has turned up the heat, alleging that he made money and won fame with a sometimes racist series of publications.

Paul claims he didn't read most of the newsletters and their controversial content, written during the 1980s and 1990s, despite them being published under his name.

He has taken responsibility for being a bad publisher, but disavowed the views, as he explained to CNN's Gloria Borger, who grilled him on the topic yesterday ...

"Why don't you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years. 22 years ago?" the 76-year-old Paul said at the outset.

"I didn't write them, I disavow them, that's it."

Borger pressed on for a few seconds before urging Paul to react to what people are saying about the allegations. "These things are pretty incendiary," Borger said.

"Because of people like you," Paul snapped back.

Later, when talking with Borger about the interview incident on air, Situation Room host Wolf Blizter suggested that Paul "got tired of talking about" the allegations.

He could have probably handled it a lot better, although he has answered the same questions the same way a ton of times now, including last week on Hannity.

What do you think? Is Paul's explanation satisfactory? Will the fiery newsletters from long ago continue to dog him, or will they become background noise?

Ron Paul Biography

Ron Paul Photo Dr. Ron Paul is an obstetrician, author, United States Congressman, and a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential... More »
Born
Birthplace
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Full Name
Ronald Ernest Paul
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