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.


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