Youthful exuberance and enthusiasm were the name of the game Tuesday night in Springfield at a rally for Republican presidential hopeful and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
The “Restore America Now” rally at the Waterford Banquet Hall near Springfield Mall was attended by so many people fire marshals had to physically keep some attendees from entering once the hall had reached its capacity.
“This crowd is amazing,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky, who is the candidate’s son. “There are 2,000 people in here and another 500 outside that the fire marshal won’t let in.”
The capacity crowd that made it into the venue consisted of primarily 20- and 30-somethings, with a smattering of some older — and some younger — supporters.
“Ron Paul has the courage of his convictions,” said Emilio Vasquez, 19, of Annandale. “His views may not all be popular, but they are his — and they weren’t given to him by any focus group for any particular audience.”
It is that youthful spirit that he gives Paul an edge in the upcoming Super Tuesday primary, said Chris Stearns, Virginia State director for Paul’s campaign.
“The Republican establishment is scared to death because they know young people who are organized and who love freedom are coming,” he said.
Onstage, the Paul (R) of Texas alluded to a coming “revolution,” and took President Barack Obama (D) to task on several issues.
“I guess the revolution has arrived in Virginia tonight,” Paul told the crowd. “They are asleep in Washington, so we need to be loud enough to wake them up.”
Paul made several references to political “assassinations” and “unauthorized wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan that he said the president has had no issue in overseeing.
“And now there is talk of war with Iran,” he said. “Even though there is no evidence of their having a nuclear weapon, the war drums are beating. This country does not need another war.”
He also called for a drastic halt to federal taxing and spending.
“We are the biggest debtor nation in the history of the world right now … we need to repeal the 16th amendment,” he said, refering to the federal government’s ability to tax its citizens.
Paul said he was capable of beating Obama in November, and encouraged everyone to vote in next week’s primary.
“We have gotten about 70 people together to spread the word,” said David Gibson of Chantilly. “We call our group the ‘Liberty Corps.’ and we will do our best to make sure Ron Paul supporters get out and vote on Tuesday.”