Thousands hear Ron Paul at UI

Thousands hear Ron Paul at UI

CHAMPAIGN — Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said America needs to shrink the size of government and restore individual liberty.

"The enthusiasm for personal liberty has to be restored and has to be renewed," he said.

Paul spoke for about an hour before an estimated 5,000 people, many of them chanting, "President Paul, President Paul," Wednesday night at Huff Hall on the University of Illinois campus.

The event had to be moved to Huff from Foellinger Auditorium because demand for tickets exceeded the seating capacity at Foellinger.

Paul said his UI appearance may have been the largest turnout for one of his rallies during his campaign.

"It sounds like the revolution has arrived in Illinois, and I'm delighted to be with you," he said. "I see the other candidates as the past, and I see you as the future."

Speaking to The News-Gazette prior to the rally, Paul attributed his support among college students and other young people to their openness to his ideas.

"Young people seem to not have their minds cluttered so much, and they are very principled and open," Paul said. "Young people seem to lead the charge when you make a true effort to change things. We are seeing campuses coming alive because the students don't like the status quo."

Congressman Tim Johnson, who introduced the candidate, called Paul "the great hope to reverse the trend of government intrusion in our lives."

"Ron Paul is the perfect candidate when America is angry at politics as usual," said Johnson, who urged UI students to cast early votes before they leave town to go on spring break.

Paul received his loudest cheers when he said the American economy would turn around if the nation ended its involvement in wars.

"The wars need to end, and we need to bring the troops home," Paul said. "We're wasting money overseas, and it is time to come home."

Paul called for restoring financial and medical privacy for all Americans.

"We have no privacy, and the government becomes more secret every single day," he said.

Paul also called for the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service and granting individual states the power to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Paul said he believes a Republican can win Illinois this fall, if it is the right candidate.

He said the extended four-way race for the Republican nomination will benefit the GOP in the long run as the party challenges President Obama.

"I think this process has helped the Republicans," Paul said. "It lets people know what the candidates believe in. I think Obama has his own problems."

Paul said he believes his recent victory in the Virgin Islands caucuses has helped to energize his campaign.

"Every time we get a victory, we get a boost, and rallies like this one at the University of Illinois will give us a boost, too," he said.

Tony Pomonis of Champaign, who met Paul at Merry Ann's Diner prior to the rally, said he likes Paul because of his anti-war stance.

"He believes in taking all the dollars spent in the military industrial complex and diverting those dollars back home," he said.

Lisa Grady of Bolingbrook said Paul's speech convinced her to vote for him.

"He cares about getting us out of war and bringing jobs to American families," she said.

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DEB wrote on March 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

I notice that Ron Paul didn't mention to the UI students that he believes there should be no public schools and that taxpayers should not be subsidizing their UI tuition. Wonder if his idea of pricing education at market rates would draw great applause?  UI would have no financial problems if students paid tuition comparable to Northwestern or U of Chicago.

Gee, maybe I'll vote for Ron Paul too.  My kids got their college, so to heck with everybody else.  I'm now a libertarian!

Hopper wrote on March 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

The Communist Manifesto written by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx lists 10 demands crucial to the formation and sustainability of communism.

#10) Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of childrens factory labor in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.

In other words, "let's churn out laborers, not free thinking individuals."

This is exactly what our schools are doing, churning out workers, limited in creativity and people that are very unable to move outside of the current paradigm because of the pavlovian roots of current education philosophy. 

I agree with Dr. Paul's concern about public education.  Freedom certainly sounds strange at first, but this country was at it's best when it was wholly free.

As for your other point, maybe we should look at another means of higher education.  My wife, graduated as a teacher from a four year university, and she'd be the first one to tell you that after four years, she knew absolutely nothing about being a teacher.  She learned more in her few weeks of student teaching than she did during her entire education.  I think the whole thing is simply a big business money grab and I do not wish to subisidize anyone. 

You may not like a few of Ron Paul's policies, but you have to agree with freedom and the return to a government by the people and for the people.

WithLiberty wrote on March 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

DEB, I used to think this as well, until I understood why college education is so expensive.

Before the Department of Education and it's government-guaranteed loans, college tuition was inexpensive. Today, tuition costs are exploding through the roof. Why?

With the government guarantee of loans, lending money for a student to go to college is as easy as Uncle Sam buying a T-Bond. So, anyone who wants to go to school has the government co-signing their loan. All of the students compete against each other (with government money), bidding the prices up. Whatever the price, so be it. The Universities know this and have zero incentive to reign-in costs. Whatever they raise tuition to, the students are willing to pay because the government is guaranteeing the debt. So prices only go up.

Why isn't the free market working in education? Because of government.

If government guaranteed student loans were immediately cancelled, students couldn't borrow money to go to school. Banks wouldn't lend it to them because it would be too risky. Would colleges just have empty classrooms? Of course not. They would immediately have to react to the drop in demand by slashing costs and overhead, bringing tuition down to a level students could actually afford.

I believe one of the reasons Paul draws great numbers from college students is because many of them do understand this. They understand in a true free market (which Paul advocates) they wouldn't be paying school loans for another 20 or 30 years.

Fromthearea wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

Wowza!  Look at all that diversity in the picture!  Old AND young white people!  Well, sorta...

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

I have been a Democrat since I was allowed to vote as a U.S. citizen at age 21.  Ron Paul has appeal due to his belief in individual responsibility.  No one can degrade that view.  He has not made any racial slurs as the other candidates have done.  He speaks of individuals taking responsibility for their own actions.  He leaves it up to each individual's choice in the decisions of their lives.  He was one of the very few who voted against the war in Iraq.  The war that the majority of Americans were for since there were "weapons of mass destruction".  He is not a Republican, or Democrat.  He is a Libertarian.  Some of his ideas do not agree with me; but his idea of individual responsibility without blaming society, or others does agree with me.  I will not vote for him; but I respect his right to speak, and some of his views.  I have seen nothing in his speeches, or actions that would indicate that he is a racist.

knightti wrote on March 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

It is unfortunate that people who seem to understand Dr. Paul's logic and agree with his basic beliefs in pesonal liberty and responsibilty will not support him with their votes. If we do not support him in the polls, we are telling the status quo that it is okay to keep on doing what they have been doing for so long. ISN'T THAT WHAT GOT US IN THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE? Please, if you believe in liberty; if you think Ron Paul is one of the few men out there that have an idea how to fix this mess then get out and vote for him! Tell your friends! Make sure your family members go to the polls next Tuesday. He may be the last chance we have before things get much worse. If you like what he stands for then stand up for him!

RMLee wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

DEB: You are obviously a genius, so what I write should come as no surprise to you.  The cost of higher education was actually much LOWER before government involvement.  The Federal loan programme showers so much easy money into the system (thank you, Federal Reserve) that it increases the student pool which, in turn, drives up demand which, surprise!, drives up the costs.  This is the same scenario we saw played out with the dot-com and real estate bubbles.  The Education Bubble will, as it is destined to do, pop like the others, impoverishing many people.  (That is in addition to the thousands of college students who graduate every year thousands of dollars in debt and unable to find suitable--if any--employment.)

The 'free' government money and subsidation of education (and other things) distorts the market and increases the cost.  Allowing market forces to set the price is the best action and will actually achieve your goal of making education less expensive.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

RMLee;  I would, also, add that college students choose their major.  No one is twisting their arms to accept student loans.  PBS radio covered the student loan problem last year when there was discussion of absolving some of the loan amounts.  The graduates interviewed were Dance, Art History, English Literature majors along with Business, Finance, Law and other assorted majors.  All were having difficulty finding employment at the time.  I recalled my student loans while listening to the story.  I remembered following graduation skimping on entertainment, buying a used car, and paying back my loans in the agreed upon five year term.  My parents did not have the money to pay for my education.  I worked two part time jobs totalling 40 hours per week, and full time jobs during the summer while I earned my degree in 4 years.  No one is twisting a student's arm to accept loans.  It is their choice.  It is their responsibility to pay back the loan; not others.  It is individual responsibility.    

newen78 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

It's nice to know there was a large turnout and they were very enthusiastic both outside the facility and inside. But let's not really inflate the number of an estimated 5,000. According to the Huff Hall website on the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics website - the max capacity for  is 4,500. Plus I believe I there were several open seats. Are we inflating the number because this was his largest turnout...which I am not sure what that says about the bigger picture. Also, I saw many campaign signs that said "The Paul Revolution" where the "evol" was turned around to say "love". Is that solely based on the fact that he opposes war? Because I haven't seen a lot of "love" from him on many other issues like equal rights, birth control, etc.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

He has made no statements opposing equal rights.  He has made no statements opposing birth control.  He leaves birth control up to the individual's choice.  He does say that the individual is responsible for their choice.  He is not for the government financial responsibility of paying for individuals poor choices.

newen78 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

He does believe in a person's individuality, but when their individuality is restricted by laws, how can they grow in their individuality?

His position on equal rights “Well, I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

He was an OB-GYN - talk about the ultimate control over a woman's reproductive rights. 

woopitydo wrote on March 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I am looking for insight on his position. Would you say he is for or against things such as same sex marriage & birth control (not abortion). Are you saying he would possibly try to reorginize the welfare system? What would doing away with the IRS do? I respect your opinion and any facts. I just want to be more informed. Thanks in advanced Sid.

knightti wrote on March 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Dr. Paul believes in personal liberty which means that the government should not get involved in choices that don't affect others. I haven't heard his personal view on same sex marriage. He believes that life begins at conception and feels that abotrtion is wrong, but does not believe that the federal government should be involved in those matters. He says they should be handled at the state level.

woopitydo wrote on March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Thankyou for your answer and not your opinion! I appreciate it :)

sa_illini12 wrote on March 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

The max capacity from the NCAA is for sporting events where the court is used for the event. He spoke on one end of the Hall and the seating took up a full basketball court, adding to the 4,500 already in the stands.

WithLiberty wrote on March 26, 2012 at 1:03 am


You're right, it was closer to 4,500. (A few open seats in the balcony, made up for by the seats on the court.) Either way, it was larger than the 4,000 at Michigan State last month. The point is that Paul is turning out massive crowds while the other candidates are drawing less than 200. (On the same day in Rosemont, IL, Newt attracted 70 supporters.)

The "Ron Paul r3VOLution" signs you saw were created spontaneously by his supporters in 2008. (Watch the documentary, "For Liberty" on YouTube) The idea is a politics based on love and non-aggression. That it’s not government’s job to decide for you. Your life should be as you wish. The cornerstone of Ron Paul's beliefs are natural rights, which is the government's role to protect. Ron Paul believes (as the Founders) that matter their age (born or unborn), race or sex, deserves to live and enjoy their unalienable rights.

Before researching Dr. Paul, I also had a skewed understanding of some of his positions, which is very easy to do thanks to the misrepresentation and smears by the media.

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on March 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm

While some of Paul's ideas may have merit, he has also gone on record as saying that he believes that any business owner should be able to serve only those customers that they wish to......that only works if you assume that nobody is a racist.  So, he may not be a racist himself, but his ideas support racism wholeheartedly.   His beliefs in limited government intervention also extend to prostitution, which he believes should be legalized.....hardly the position that today's social conservatives can embrace.   As an Independent, I find him interesting, but a tad extreme....just my opinion.

Hopper wrote on March 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

It's amazing that freedom seems so foreign to us, me included.  I agree with you, his policies would allow, not support, a whole myriad of undesirable actions and ideas.  However, that is freedom.  People should have the right to be racist.  They should not have the right to obstruct, infringe upon, or eliminate the rights of other people for any reason.  I'm not calling you out or disagreeing with anything you said however I found it interesting and wanted to comment because alot of people say similar things about Dr. Paul's message.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to create some sterile Utopia where racism is gone, people aren't willing to pay for sexual services, drugs don't exist, terrorists leave the planet, or where everyone's ideas and morals all coincide like we live in a big beehive.  Do I like racism? No, but I believe people have the right to feel and believe what they want.  Do I like homosexuality? No, but I believe they have the right to choose that lifestyle.  Do I like prostitution? Let's just say I wouldn't want my daughter to be in that position and I don't agree with married men pursuing prostitutes.  However, why spend the time, money, and effort policing it when people are going to do it anyway.  Also, if legal, the women and men would be more apt to keep clean instead of spreading disease.  Do I like drugs?  I don't like that their are drugs on our streets that cause people to lose their entire lives or commit crimes to achieve the next score.  If you notice, anytime something is regulated or made illegal it falls into the hands of black market thugs.  One only has to look at the prohibition of alcohol to see that while there is all kinds of bad situations caused by the use of alcohol in our society, they pale in comparison to the type and amount of crimes caused by it being illegal.  Wow, soapbox, but the word extreme in your post got me going.  It's sad that freedom has become extreme when it used to be the norm.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Hopper;  Thank you.  You said it better than I could.

Mark Taylor wrote on March 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

First off, no one can prove Ron Paul is racist. Just because his newsletters said some provocative things, he can't be held responsible for everything others wrote in those newsletters even if he signed his names to them. I haven't heard him say anything racist so I for one don't believe it. Besides, those newsletters are over ten years old. QUIT LIVING IN THE PAST!!

Second, he's right to opposed our government run indoctrination centers, aka government "schools", which are socialistic at best but really communistic if you sit down and think about it.

But still, I can't abide his neo-isolationist foreign policy. Even the rhino Romney is better than him on that. I do like his SATES' RIGHTS views on how best to finally end abortion, although I wish he'd stand up for his beliefs on that. Guess I'll be sticking with Santorum next Tuesday.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Mark Taylor;  Wink, wink.....:)

Hopper wrote on March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I'm not sure you can call his foreign policy isolationist.  I've heard him state several times that we should develop trade relationships with other countries.  What he disagrees with is spreading our military over the entire globe while engaging in nation building and police activities.  By the way, if we operate on a balanced budget and work towards becoming an industrial and economic super power again, we can influence many things through those trade relations.  It wouldn't take an ounce of military fortitude to make moves globally.  I liked some of the other things you said, although your missing the point when you talk about Dr. Paul's beliefs on abortion.  I've heard him say over and over and over again that he simply disagrees with the federal government getting involved in an issue that should be decided on a State by State basis.  Lastly, I think the most telling thing about Ron Paul's character is the silly phamplet debate.  The only thing they can find on him, and trust me there are people looking, is some whacky handout from over 20 years ago.  Vote Ron Paul and let's get back to basics.