A woman photographs Ron Paul in Reno (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
RENO, Nev.—Orange hair, flannel shirts, scrunchies, tattoos and electric wheelchairs. It was a different crowd than the those Mitt Romney usually attracts. But on Thursday night, more than 1,000 people showed up in a massive ballroom at the Grand Sierra Casino to see Ron Paul—a major crowd ahead of Saturday's Republican presidential caucuses in a state where Paul is considered a dark horse in the race.
The Texas congressman's stump speech is not what you would call electrifying, unless you are obsessed with the minutia of federal monetary policy. Paul hit his usual policy touchstones, including his dire predictions about the growing national debt, his call for a repeal of the Patriot Act and his rants against what he describes as unnecessary foreign interventions.
So what motivated the throngs of people and press to show up Thursday: Perhaps it was the rumor that Paul would appear with ladies of the night from the Bunny Ranch, an infamous brothel in Nevada. Earlier this week, several of the bunnies announced they are backing Paul in Saturday's Republican caucuses. Their caucus push was, perhaps appropriately, called "Pimpin for Paul."
Dozens of photographers showed up—prompting a Paul aide to issue a strict warning against rushing the stage. Meanwhile, the press riser was packed, with; some reporters—including this one—from the press corps taking a brief respite from covering Mitt Romney, who happened to be staying in the hotel.
But the wild anticipation about Paul appearing on stage with hookers went unfulfilled. Instead, Paul stuck to his usual script—and the audience went wild over the candidate's usual applause lines. At one point, the crowd issued a hearty boo at the mention of former President Woodrow Wilson's name. Paul cited the former president in rant against the country's current foreign policy.
While reporters were disappointed not to see the spectacle of Paul appearing with a bevy of prostitutes, the audience didn't seem to care. As the congressman took the stage with his wife and granddaughter, virtually every person in the room leaped to their feet, screaming in delight.
"It seems like the 'revolution' is alive and well," Paul observed.
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