The Washington Post

Ron Paul searches for electability in Republican debates

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has become increasingly relevant in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, but he’s got a big hurdle to overcome: convincing people that he can win.

Now that he’s proven that he’s a cut above most of the other second-tier candidates – at least as far as polling and fundraising go – Paul needs to dispense with the notion that he can’t win any actual primary contests.

Whether that’s possible is still very much an open question. Paul’s campaign has done a good job of highlighting his more mainstream Republican qualities – releasing a strong and graphic ad on his personal experience with abortion and highlighting Paul’s unmatched support among members of the military, for example.

But at the debates, Paul often gets pulled into being the candidate he was four years ago – talking about the his support for the Gold standard, eliminating the Federal Reserve, and taking a non-interventionist posture on foreign policy.

Paul will always be true to his beliefs; for him, it’s a matter of creating a balance that makes him look presidential and acceptable to the conservative mainstream.


Gaffe-free Romney tries for one more

Can Rick Perry do better this time?

Will Herman Cain keep rising?

Bachmann needs to dig out of deep hole

Rick Santorum emerges as attack dog

Gingrich keeps Republicans entertained

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Clinton in New Hampshire: 2008 vs. 2015
Hillary Clinton did about as well in N.H. this year as she did in 2008, percentage-wise. In the state's main counties, Clinton performed on average only about two percentage points worse than she did eight years ago (according to vote totals as of Wednesday morning) -- and in five of the 10 counties, she did as well or better.
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.