The people powering the Paul phenomenon-College students, old-line conservatives, anti-globalists back contender
By Tom Curry National affairs writer MSNBC Updated: 8:49 a.m. ET Oct 30, 2007 Tom Curry
DES MOINES, Iowa - Four college pals, John Friendly, Jeff Shipley, Brad Jahner, and Daniel Krauss, got a chance to whoop, holler and raise the roof Saturday. The four boisterous Iowan guys cheered on their hero, Republican presidential contender Ron Paul, as he addressed a rally in Des Moines. “I think he’s probably the only candidate who can make big enough changes in our government to save us from economic breakdown,” said Friendly after hearing Paul. Friendly is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, studying history and English.
“I was looking at Obama as somebody I was thinking about supporting,” Friendly recalled. Then his friend and roommate Krauss told him to look into Paul’s views. “I looked at his policies and they made a lot more sense than anybody else’s.” Friendly decided that Paul, who voted against the Iraq war in 2002, had more credibility on ending the war than any of the other presidential contenders, Democratic or Republican. “He’s obviously going to do something about it if he gets elected — whereas with these other candidates, there’s no proof that they will,” Friendly said. He also agrees with Paul’s limited government views. “The states should have more power and I think we should have a smaller (federal) government because I think that’s what the Constitution originally intended.”
“The problem with the big candidates — Hillary, Bush, Obama — is they don’t stand on anything. You ask them a direct question, they circle around it,” said Jahner, a student at Des Moines Area Community College. Like Paul, he sees the end of welfare state as inevitable. “It is hard to say to a crowd that we’re going to take away your crutch,” said Jahner. "But, the fact of the matter is, it has to happen. In order for the government not to go bankrupt, things have to get cut. What Ron Paul is saying is, ‘it’s coming, you knew it was coming anyway, prepare yourself.'” Jacob Bofferding, a student at Iowa State University, said he decided to work for Paul after seeing him on a televised debate. “For Ron Paul to stand up there and say, ‘people hate us because we intervene in their lives’ and for (Rudy) Giuliani to say ‘that’s ridiculous,’ that blew my mind,” said'Stop subsidizing oppressive regimes'
“Our imperialistic foreign policy is the biggest threat to this country, not groups of terrorists that have no state sponsor,” Bofferding said. “The first thing you have to do is stop subsidizing oppressive regimes in the Middle East.” Bofferding calls himself “an extreme fiscal conservative." He adds, "I don’t think that the federal government has much responsibility in the way of our lives.”
Veronica Czastkiewicz, a student at Cornell College in Iowa, who is supporting Ron Paul. He hands out flyers at football games and otherwise drums up support for Paul, spending about five hours a week on the campaign. He had the honor of introducing Paul when he spoke to a crowd of 700 supporters at Iowa State on Friday night. A small sample of Ron Paul’s supporters in Iowa in recent days found them to be a mix of young and old, mostly male, but some women. They inlcude traditional Christian social conservatives and homeschoolers, and fresh-faced fervent college students such as Friendly and Bofferding, who embrace his free market ideas and an anti-interventionist foreign policy. Veronica Czastkiewicz, a student at Cornell College in Iowa, showed up at Paul’s Ames speech Friday night. “I’m a constitutionalist like Ron Paul; his back-to-the-basics approach is very refreshing and inspiring,” she said. “So many politicians have gone off track.” She wasn’t old enough to vote in 2004, but supported Democrat John Kerry. “I was very socially liberal when I was younger,” she said.