Ron Paul is no flavor of the month.
Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” about Saturday’s Des Moines Register poll showing him surging into second place in Iowa, the Texas congressman and GOP presidential hopeful said the survey reflects that his positions on economic and foreign policy issues have been “striking a chord with the people.”
“Of course it is very encouraging because we’re getting pretty close to it being within the margin of error,” Paul said. “So, I think we continue to do what we’re doing. We’ve had the flavors of the month up and down so far in this campaign. I’d like to think of myself as the flavor of the decade.”
The Des Moines Register poll showed former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) taking first in Iowa with 25 percent of likely Republican caucus goers. Paul took second with 18 percent, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) came in third with 16 percent.
In the newspaper’s October poll, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (R) and Romney were in a dead heat for first place with 23 and 22 percent, respectively. Paul took third with 12 percent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) placed fourth with 8 percent.
Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley about his electability in the general election, Paul dismissed a recent survey showing that only four percent of Republican voters viewed him as the candidate best poised to defeat President Obama in November 2012.
“You know, I would say that if the people in Iowa wouldn’t consider me a good option to beat Obama I wouldn’t be a close second in there,” Paul said. “So, it is already reflecting a favorable rating for that. But I think you point out -- maybe you’re giving me subtly some good advice, ‘You better keep working.’ And that is what we have to convince the primary voters that we can do a good job in the general and that, of course, is part of the campaign.”
Paul also said that he’s “optimistic” that his campaign will pick up some votes among former supporters of Cain, who announced Saturday that he was suspending his campaign in the wake of a series of allegations that he sexually harassed several women and conducted a 13-year extramarital affair.
“There are a lot of people who call themselves tea party people that did like the independent mindedness of Herman Cain,” Paul said. “So, I think that we’ll probably do better, even though some people are saying, ‘Oh, no, they’re all going to go to so-and-so.’ We’re paying a lot of attention to that, because obviously they’re going to go somewhere in the next week or so. That’s going to happen.”