WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by an extraordinary outpouring of Internet support Monday, hauled in more than $4.2 million in nearly 24 hours.
Paul's total deposed Mitt Romney as the single-day fundraising record holder in the Republican presidential field.
When it comes to sums amassed in one day, Paul now ranks behind only Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
Paul, the Texas congressman with a libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraq pitch, entered such heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based giving tied to Guy Fawkes Day.
Fawkes was a British mercenary who failed in his attempt to kill King James I on Nov. 5, 1605. He also was the model for the protagonist in the 2005 movie "V for Vendetta," which was adapted from David Lloyd's graphic novel of the same name.
Paul backers motivated Internet donors by posting mashed-up clips of the film on YouTube.
Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said backers began the effort independently about two months ago. He said Paul picked up on the movement, mentioning it in speeches and interviews. "It's been kind of building up virally," Benton said.
The $3.5 million, he said, represented online contributions from more than 22,000 donors.
Paul has lagged in the polls behind Republican front-runners. But he captured national attention at the end of September when he reported raising $5.2 million in three months, putting him fourth among Republican presidential candidates in fundraising for the quarter.
As of Monday, Paul had raised $6.3 million since Oct. 1, more than half his goal of $12 million by the end of the year, according to his website.
Paul advocates limited government and low taxes like other Republicans, but he stands alone as the only GOP presidential candidate opposed to the Iraq war. He also has opposed Bush administration security measures that he says encroach on civil liberties.