RON PAUL ENDORSES CONSTITUTION PARTY CANDIDATE CHUCK BALDWIN FOR PRESIDENT
1:00 AM Eastern
by Sarah Foster
September 23, 2008
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After months of refusing to endorse any candidate in November's presidential election race, Congressman Ron Paul—who ran a hard race for the GOP nomination—announced Monday afternoon in a press statement that he was supporting Constitution Party nominee Rev. Chuck Baldwin.
Baldwin, a minister at Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., and a syndicated columnist, could not be reached for comment, but Frank Fluckiger, the Constitution Party's Western States Area Chairman, told NewsWithViews.com that he and other party officials had "no idea" that Paul had actually decided to endorse their candidate.
"Of course, we are thrilled. It will be a real boost to our party and membership," he said. "It was wonderful for Congressman Paul to do this."
The Baldwin campaign had approached Paul for his endorsement, as had the Libertarian Party and the GOP—with former senator Phil Gramm making the pitch for Paul to endorse Sen. John McCain. But Paul repeatedly refused.
The surprise announcement came less than two weeks after the Texas Republican had hosted a Third-Party Unity Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, under the auspices of Paul's new project, the Campaign for Liberty. At the event Paul called on voters to reject the two major political parties and vote for one of the third-party candidates with him that day.
Joining him at the podium were Chuck Baldwin, Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader, Independent.
Paul's intention was to focus voters on the idea that there are other parties out there and other candidates than simply the "big two." That's why he hosted the press conference and invited all the third party candidates. All of them.
But one third-party candidate was a no-show: Bob Barr, a former congressman from Georgia, now the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate for the November election.
Not that Barr hadn't been invited. Not only had he been invited, he had accepted. Then moments before the conference was scheduled to begin he sent word that he would not be attending, saying it would be "a waste of time." Worse, Barr had scheduled a press conference of his own to begin a couple of hours following Ron Paul's event.
"I'm not interested in third parties getting the most possible votes," Barr said at his press conference. "I'm interested in Bob Barr as the nominee for the Libertarian Party getting the most possible votes. Adding insult to injury, he said he'd allow Paul to be his running mate on the LP ticket.
Barr also sent a letter to Paul, explaining why he should not stay neutral but join him in the Libertarian Party fold. The letter has been pulled from the Barr campaign website. Today, Paul replied, declaring at the end of a lengthy essay posted on the Campaign for Liberty site:
"The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for 'remaining neutral' in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November. It's true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members. I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I'm a ten-term Republican Congressman. It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party. Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign.
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"I continue to wish the Libertarian and Constitution Parties well. The more votes they get, the better. I have attended Libertarian Party conventions frequently over the years. I've thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I'm supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate."
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