Rep. Ron Paul speaking at CPAC on Friday.
Rep. Ron Paul is firing back at critics today, fresh off a CPAC straw poll victory. The Republican Congressman brushed off a very public dismissal of his electability by none other than Donald Trump.
Paul pointed to his electoral success in a conservative district and questioned Trump's lack of campaign experience. "I don’t know whether he’s earned the right — you know — for criticizing someone for not winning an election, when I don’t know how many elections he’s won so far himself,” said Paul in an interview this morning.
Paul won the presidential-preference straw poll for the second consecutive year. Paul got 30% of the vote, edging early contender Mitt Romney (23%) while no other candidate received over 6% of the vote. However, despite Paul’s strong vote of support from his conservative peers, CPAC yielded one particularly noteworthy voice of opposition via The Donald himself.
Donald Trump's bold statement that Paul "cannot get elected" drew a vocal reaction from the CPAC crowd as a seemingly off-the-cuff comment in a headliner speech. Hinting that he might even consider a run in 2012, Trump thrilled the audience forecasting, "If I ran and if I win, this country will be respected again."
Trump's speech drew mixed reactions from the crowd, which was packed out with a bunch of Paul supporters. But even if Trump doesn't run, it may indicate a greater suspicion that Paul's libertarian platform makes him, as Trump suspects, an unrealistic GOP candidate for 2012.
Neither Paul nor Trump has committed to running in 2012.
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— By Pete Tosiello