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Ron Paul Talks Foreign Policy, Economy at Town Hall

Ritchie Coliseum filled with almost 2,000 Ron Paul supporters.

About eight months after President Barack Obama  at Ritchie Coliseum, a man who hopes to take his job discussed his own solutions with supporters at the same spot in College Park.

Republican presidential primary candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul spoke at a town hall meeting Wednesday night, organized in part by the University of Maryland chapter of Youth for Ron Paul.

The candidate, widely known as the libertarian option among the GOP field, touted his plan to cut $1 trillion from the budget in his first year if elected; cut foreign spending; repeal the Patriot Act and abolish the Federal Reserve—what he said facilitates big government and leads to artificially low interest rates.

The crowd often erupted into the chant, “End the Fed.”

“That will be one of the first things on my agenda,” Paul responded.

Paul also devoted much of his speech to foreign policy, an area that neither Obama nor former President George W. Bush handled well, he said.

He promised that as president he would bring troops home from Afghanistan, and that he would not take the United States into war without the stamp of approval from Congress.

"You go to war when it's declared. You don't go to war at the whim of a president or an administration,” he said.

“A lot more can be achieved in peace than in war,” he added.

Paul called for the restoration of liberty, and criticized government for too many mandates, including Obama’s healthcare legislation and laws against marijuana use.

“I think you ought to have a right to put into your own body whatever you want,” he said as the crowd erupted into one of the rowdiest standing ovations of the night.

But as a parent, grandparent and physician, he urged them to do it cautiously: “In a free society, you have to take care of yourself,” he said.

“I’m sick of the drug laws. I don’t do drugs but I still don’t want to see innocent people locked up,” said Ryan Geelhaar, 19, after the town hall meeting. He’s a student at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville.

Paul also called for the repeal of Bush’s Patriot Act, which lowers restrictions on law enforcement agencies when investigating possible terrorist leads.

In getting rid of the act, Paul said he would be restoring the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which guards citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Paul supporters rallied even amidst new poll results from CNN that show both Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich more than 10 points behind Rick Santorum.

According to the poll, six in 10 Republican or GOP-leaning independents who responded to the survey said it was time for Paul and Gingrich to drop out of the race.

But those polls mean nothing, supporters at Wednesday's rally said. Several blamed mainstream media for biased results in the CNN poll, and others.

“The industrial media is completely against Ron Paul for obvious reasons,” said Drew Kalocai of Ellicott City, as he waited near the front of the line that formed outside Ritchie Coliseum. “He doesn’t give them the red meat that both the Republican party does and the Democratic party does,” he said.

Paul made no mention of poll numbers during his speech; he also didn't bring up his Republican competitors, as Adam Adair of Elkton pointed out afterward.

“You didn’t even hear him talk about the other candidates. He really just talked about his ideas and the Constitution,” Adair said.

The town hall is one in a series of Paul rallies at campuses across the country. He’ll appear at the University of Wisconsin in Madison on Thursday.

Paul has succeeded in rallying support from young voters in many states, though they haven't all showed up at the polls in the droves.

“College students tend to be a little bit more politically aware of what’s going on,” said Max Coleman, recruitment director for the UMd. chapter of Youth for Ron Paul. “A lot of the people who are really politically aware of what’s going on in this world tend to get behind Ron Paul, because they know he’s the one that actually has a plan to solve their problems," he said.

With primary day coming up on Tuesday, Paul is the third GOP candidate to visit the state in the past week. in Baltimore County on March 21, and Gingrich visited .

Stephen K March 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Ron Paul has to find a way of getting his stoner voters off there ass to vote! me being one of them....I try to think of what would give me the initiative to take affirmative action, but b/w the headache of work home life and everything else in b/w what time do I have to show my support for the one person I think can make a positive change in this country.
Stephen K March 31, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Why should the Fed gov. be so involved with Education when the states can do just as good of a job if not better? I love how people refer it to the wild wild west. Ignorence is Bliss...
Joseph Mertens March 31, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Think of it this way on cutting a trillion dollars from the budget. You the people get to spend or save a divided trillion dollars how is getting to keep your money bad? As far as dirt roads and little bridges nonsense The Feds do not build anything they take money from the states wast it with bureaucratic mazes then congressmen fight over whats left hopefuly the money go's back to your state so the work on roads and such can be contracted out with in the state. So rather than wast money playing power games in DC you could saves billions of dollars just getting the states directly to handle the roads and bridges.
Rodney Gallegos March 31, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Alright, if everything goes back to the States, What state will pay for the nation short fall. Will it be divided by 50 or by size? If you have No federal income and only states income again who pays . There will be no money to put a dent in 16 trillion dollars. The nations credit rating is now at AA rating because of the republicans and growing at high mathmatical curves. With no regulations who verifies the drinking water, the food, the sanity discharges in sewers? Do You want to work for minimun wage at 2 dollars an hour? Are you willing to be laided off? DO you work for the US government or State government or locally. Will Ron paul as a third party? It will divide the country further. Again, believe what you want and vote any way you want. that is what America is about!
Joseph Mertens March 31, 2012 at 10:17 PM
The federal government has plenty of money to run it's self from tariffs on imported goods. An apportioned debit to income sounds good for the 16 trillion we owe as a nation. States can manage verifying air water food and sewage as they are no longer wasting money in the federal bureaucracy. Do I want to work for 2 dollars an hour? Sure if the value of that 2 dollars returned to pre 1913 levels. Am I willing to be laid off? Yes as that is already a possibility why not? I do not work for any Public body of service. If Ron Paul runs third party he will be offering us a difference from the normal bs we get in elections to something else for better or worse As the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, I will gladly embrace a chance at real change. Ron Paul for 2012!

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