While appearing on ABC’s This Week program on Sunday morning Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul formally announced that he had quadrupled his fundraising from the first quarter of the year. In the first quarter Paul raised $640,000, but that number soared in the second quarter due to the Texas Congressman’s large base of support on the Internet. The Paul campaign took in $2.4 million in the second quarter, and the candidate said that they still have all that money in the bank. When host George Stephanopoulos asked why his campaign had done so well he replied, “Some of the candidates are on the down slope; we’re on the upslope. We feel good about what’s happening.”

It is rare that a candidate that is being dismissed the way that Ron Paul is actually gets a sit down interview on one of the Sunday morning talk shows. However, Stephanopoulos displayed the typical mainstream media ignorance about the popularity of the Ron Paul campaign on a few different occasions during the interview. The host asked Paul why he thinks his campaign has grown in popularity. Paul replied, “I think people have underestimated the number of people in this country that are interested in a freedom message — just being free. Free of the government oppression of us, whether it’s on our personal liberties, our economic liberties, and they certainly like the foreign policy of nonintervention.” His biggest slight to Paul was when he told him that he can’t win. I’m sure George will never think about saying this to a top Republican or Democrat.

It must be pointed out that Dr. Paul still has a long way to go, if he is going to be a serious Republican contender in 2008. The floundering McCain campaign still managed to raise $11.2 million in the second quarter. Most of those funds was taken up by expenses and debt, and McCain was left  with only $2 million in the bank. The McCain campaign countered the claims that the Paul campaign had out raised them by pointing out that they also have $800,000 in the bank for use during a potential general election campaign. However, the $800,000 does McCain no good if he can’t win the 2008 Republican nomination. I think that the surge in fundraising for the Paul campaign is a continuation of what we learned during the 2004 Howard Dean Democratic campaign. The Internet is a powerful tool.

So far establishment politicians like Barack Obama have figured out how to use the Internet for fundraising, but the Paul campaign has taken it another step and is using the Internet to spread a grassroots message of freedom from big government. I think this message resonates particularly well with anti-war Republicans, conservative Democrats, and Libertarians. After watching President Bush expand the federal government and his presidential powers for almost two terms, millions of Americans are fed up with it and want their freedom back.

The biggest obstacle for candidates like Ron Paul is that the American political system has been corrupted to the point where fundraising dictates media coverage. McCain has gotten a week’s worth of bad publicity due to his inability to raise money. Here’s hoping that an underdog candidate like Ron Paul gets his moment in the sun, for a strong fundraising performance.

You can watch the full Ron Paul interview right here.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics
 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
 
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