Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul at a campaign stop at the Park… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)
Reporting from Des Moines — For Ron Paul's supporters, the throng that greeted them at a hotel ballroom Monday was more than cause for excitement. It was a moment of vindication, or even, some thought, the start of something very big.
"This is the beginning of the second revolution," said Monte Goodyk, 37, of the 800-person hamlet of Sully, Iowa. Four years ago, Goodyk campaigned for Mitt Romney, made calls for him. But then a friend turned him on to Paul. And that was that.
"Liberty. It's about small government," Goodyk said as he stared at the gathering of about 500 and the banks of cameras from national and international TV networks. Romney, he said, "just wants the same control everyone else does."
Paul, the Texas congressman, was introduced by his son Rand Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky.
"There's energy. It's overflowing. And it's coming tomorrow," Rand Paul told the crowd. "We're going to win in Iowa tomorrow."
Ron Paul was delighted with the turnout. "This is almost like a real rally," he exclaimed. "This is great!"
He said that money was pouring into the campaign and that enthusiasm "is growing by leaps and bounds. The crowds are getting bigger."
Mandie Devries, 32, watched from the back of the room, her 11-month-old daughter, Lucy, cradled against her chest in a baby carrier while her four other young daughters, clad in Paul T-shirts, played contentedly on the floor.
She called the crowd "awesome" and said she would be speaking on Paul's behalf at a caucus in Ankeny on Tuesday.
"I'm trying to get all my friends and family there," Devries said. "That's really all we can do — fight for the right thing."
She looked down at her baby girl. "What do you say, Lucy?" she said. The infant clapped her hands and chirped. It was something that sounded a lot like "Ron Paul, Ron Paul."