Paul Is Here, and the RNC Isn't Happy

Ron Paul said his floor access to the GOP convention has been limited.
Ron Paul said his floor access to the GOP convention has been limited. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)
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By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 1 -- Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has boasted that he wrote a book slamming the Iraq war and challenging the nation's economic system to continue a grass-roots movement that grew out of his quixotic campaign. The best-selling "The Revolution: A Manifesto" has become the centerpiece of a counterconvention by Paul that he has predicted will attract thousands of supporters to the Twin Cities.

But although the congressman from Texas has repeatedly called the book his own work, it was largely written by an unacknowledged ghostwriter, and it is unclear how much Paul contributed to the final product.

Late last year, Tom Woods, a longtime Paul supporter and libertarian scholar who will be speaking at the counterconvention, sent out copies of the manuscript and indicated that he had written the manifesto on Paul's behalf, according to copies of a letter from Woods and an original manuscript obtained by The Washington Post.

"Enclosed is the manuscript for a book tentatively titled The Revolution: A Manifesto, to be published under Dr. Paul's name," Woods's Dec. 26 letter says. The name of the letter's recipient was redacted. "When my agent shopped the idea around (before I'd actually written the book) back in October, a number of publishers were interested . . ." Woods also wrote that he was "happy to report that Dr. Paul is very pleased with it. He called me with a number of minor changes that I intend to incorporate into the text over the next few days."

Woods confirmed in an interview that the letter is authentic, but said it overemphasizes his role in writing the book. "This is Ron Paul's book in every way," Woods said. When asked if Paul used a ghostwriter, Jesse Benton, his spokesman, said "They are all Dr. Paul's words."

Despite his role, Woods, an author of numerous books under his own name, wrote glowing reviews of Paul's book on libertarian Web sites when it was released by Grand Central Publishing in January. On one, he wrote: "Whatever your expectations for Ron Paul's book . . . I can say with confidence that they have been exceeded. By a mile."

Throughout his campaign and since, Paul has presented himself as an anti-Washington truth teller. His 173-page book has become the extension of a post-campaign movement trying to sustain the grass-roots enthusiasm that made his presidential bid an unlikely success among disaffected Republicans, independents, and some Democrats frustrated by government spending and the nation's aggressive military posture around the world.

The book has become a centerpiece of the shadow convention, which was launched Monday with a book signing. Quotes from the book are being featured on billboards in the Twin Cities and plastered on posters at the nearby Mall of America, encouraging Republicans in town for their party's convention to buy and read Paul's manifesto.

Paul is expecting 10,000 supporters to attend a daylong rally Tuesday, at which numerous libertarian and independent-minded speakers, such as former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, Grover G. Norquist, and Tucker Carlson, will discuss his agenda for a smaller government, lower taxes and an end to the Iraq war. The convention will be held across the river from the Republican convention, at the arena where the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves play, and will include a performance by blues guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, speeches and panel discussions.

"It's the ideas in the book that brings this together," Paul explained in an interview with The Post on Friday.

Paul said he organized his counterconvention after officials at the Republican National Committee told him he would not be permitted to address their convention. Paul said the RNC has also limited his access to the convention floor, and his movements at the hall will be monitored by the party. He is not supporting John McCain's candidacy, but he said his event should not be viewed as a protest.

"What we're doing is, we're having a rally. It's a celebration not intended to obstruct or complain," Paul said. "It's also to make a point."

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