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Interview with Bennett Roth

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Ron Paul, Son of Texas

Election 2008

Ron Paul, Son of Texas

Interview with Bennett Roth

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Ron Paul fields questions from the press in Iowa. David Lienemann/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption David Lienemann/Getty Images

The Republican presidential candidate is raising record amounts and fierce devotion from his backers on the campaign trail.

What's the view from back home, in Congressman Paul's south Texas district? Bennett Roth of the Houston Chronicle says it's a district full of shrimpers and farmers who grow rice and cotton. Paul's district is home to a group of small towns along the Gulf Coast, and it includes the city of Galveston.

Paul's political record includes a vote not to reauthorize the Head Start program for kids, a vote to impeach President Bill Clinton and a vote against mandatory trigger locks on guns. Roth says Paul's views don't mesh perfectly with the prevailing sentiment in his district. He cites Paul's vote against the Iraq war as a key example. "It's a fairly conservative district, very pro-military, as much of Texas is," Roth reports.

His constituents see Paul, a physician, as a low-key, kindly doctor, Roth says, in contrast to his national reputation as a free-wheeling firebrand.

Paul's local reputation is "a little more low-profile," Roth says. "He doesn't come across as this angry, fiery orator. But rather he goes home, and he goes from town hall to town hall, dispensing advice."

Roth says people in Texas appreciate Paul's straightforwardness and lack of political spin. He adds that Paul proposed more earmarks than any other member of the Houston-area delegation — 65 in all, with one financing the renovation of a shuttered theater. Paul's backing for earmarks stands in contrast to his campaign speeches against government funding for a variety of programs. "He does do a lot of the constituent services, even as he talks about low government," Roth says.

On our blog, an open thread: Who are Ron Paul's supporters?

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