Monday, March 12, 2012

Interview: Ron Paul Jr. and John Tate launch Paul's Hawaii campaign in Waikiki

WASHINGTON TIMES | Daniel de Gracia | March 11, 2012
With only 72 hours to the opening of Hawaii’s first ever Republican presidential caucus, the Ron Paul campaign held a meet-and-greet on Oahu yesterday, attended by national campaign manager John Tate and Paul’s oldest son, Ronnie.

The mood at the event was warm, upbeat and full of optimism, smiles on every face and an overriding presence of camaraderie among the supporters. People of all ages, young and old alike, attended and received the visiting campaign team like family. John Tate gave an overview of what Paul has been doing since Iowa and Ronnie spoke at length about the values of his father and the strength of their family.

Having attended numerous campaign events over the years, Ron Paul events in my opinion are always the best – they feel less political and more like large family gatherings. People attend because they love Paul, love liberty and most of all, love America.

Ronnie answered questions from the audience about what Paul’s position were on local and national issues and the crowd responded favorably on all points. Like his father, he was gentlemanly, full of goodness and a man who instantly inspires with transparency.

Paul may not have been present, but his son got all the important points out and that was more than enough for his Hawaii supporters to keep campaigning on. I for one was deeply touched by what I saw as a family organization focused on doing what was right for America.

I had the opportunity after the meeting to interview both Ronnie Paul and John Tate briefly after the event concluded. Here now is a transcript, with light edits:

Interview with Ronnie Paul, oldest son of Ron Paul

Danny de Gracia: How do you feel about Ron Paul’s chances of winning here in Hawaii? Apparently an informal local poll even suggested that 29% of Hawaii Democrats might favor Ron Paul. How do you think that will impact Tuesday’s results?

Ronnie Paul: It’s hard to gauge exactly, but we do know there’s a lot of Democrats here, we do know that our message is very appealing to the Democrat and independent persons, so how many of them will come vote for him, I don’t know that answer, but his message is very appealing to all persons, so its not surprising that he could pick up Democrats and independents.

DDG: Okay. So do you think that Ron Paul might be able to possibly come to Hawaii in the not too distant future or maybe even for the upcoming caucus or Hawaii’s Lincoln Day Dinner?

RP: My dad is running pretty hard everywhere he’s going and that’s kind of why I’m here. It’s a long way out here and we didn’t pass many 7-Elevens on the way here, but no, he will probably not be down here, but when he wins the Primary as a candidate? You never know.

DDG: In closing, do you have any message you would like to give to Hawaii Republican voters? Anything you would like them to know before the caucus?

RP: We’ve got to reduce the debt. There’s only one candidate who’s serious about reducing the debt, and that’s Ron Paul.

Interview with national campaign manager John Tate

DDG: Will Ron Paul eventually come to Hawaii and is there any possibility that he could actually attend a GOP function like Lincoln Day Dinner as a featured speaker? Would he consider that?

John Tate: I don’t want to rule it out, I don’t actually manage his schedule but I would probably urge him to, I think from my brief time here, I’ve been very impressed with how welcoming and how friendly and helpful people like [Hawaii Republican Party Chairman] David Chang and other people have already been.

I’ve met with the national committeewoman here and it seems to me that if they wanted him here, I would at least want him to make it here at some point.

DDG: So, in terms of the “delegate strategy” being employed by Ron Paul, how would you explain that in layman’s terms to our readers?

JT: Not sure there are layman’s terms, but I think it’s a very long process, it’s different in each state, for example in Iowa the straw poll was early January but that’s what it was, a straw poll, the county convention started today, the process will go through I think May or June at their state convention and that’s when they will elect their delegates.

We’re very confident in places like Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Hawaii and other places, Alaska … we’re going to end up with far more delegates than people think, because our people not only went to the straw poll but they went to sign up to be delegates.

Even places like Colorado where we didn’t do very well, we’re finding double or triple the people who voted for Ron in the straw poll count are getting elected to county and district conventions. So our strategy is to keep piling up delegates, we’re piling them up across the country.

DDG: Now one of the legacies of Ron Paul’s revolution is that a lot of people who have never even considered politics before are actually running for office as candidates. What would be your advice to people who are basically start-up candidates running for Congress or for other offices for the first time? How would you recommend that Ron Paul-type candidates break in?

JT: I think there’s a couple things. I think they need to make sure they’re willing to put in the work and time that it takes. I can never overlook the importance of fundraising, you’ve probably heard my comment earlier, “you can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent” and you can’t win an election if you can’t raise the money, that’s very important.

I always advise candidates that I’m working with to be able spend at least half their time fundraising. Make sure that you know your district, make sure you know your area, make sure you know the people, and then finally understand that there are districts in America where a Ron Paul-type candidate or a Republican candidate cannot win, period.

I’m constantly asked by people, “When do we get to do the fun stuff?” There really is no fun stuff, it’s knocking on doors, stuffing envelopes, putting the signs in and doing the hard work.

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