Should conservatives support Ron Paul? (part 3)

Below is a portion of an article I read concerning Ron Paul’s social views.

Ron Paul (Cheryl Senter/AP)

Saint Paul: Inside Ron Paul’s effort to convince Christian conservatives that he’s their man

By Chris MoodyPolitical Reporter
By Chris Moody | The Ticket – Fri, Dec 9, 2011
 

‘Does it take some explanation? Yes. Can it be done? Yes.’

These leading voices in Iowa have not stopped Paul from trying to appeal to the state’s socially conservative voters.

Doug Wead, a born-again Christian who worked for George H.W. Bush and whom Paul has tasked with rallying Christians nationally for his candidacy, has helped Paul to craft a message tailored specifically to religious conservatives.

Paul quotes Proverbs 22:7–“the borrower is servant to the lender”–when discussing his Israel policy. He cites Deuteronomy 25:15, which commands a system of “honest weights and measures” to argue for sound monetary policy. And he often tells the story of how Jesus drove the money lenders out of the temple to illustrate his outrage over his belief that the Federal Reserve dilutes the value of currency.

Explaining Paul’s philosophy of liberty to evangelical voters comes with challenges, Wead conceded. “It is hard. But once they get it, they get it they see the power of it,” Wead said. “Does it take some explanation? Yes. Can it be done? Yes, and it’s been done incrementally in Iowa with great success.”

Paul’s campaign has also targeted much of its state-based advertising toward Iowa’s socially conservative voters, and Paul has written personal letters to key pastors in the state.

In what is perhaps his most emotionally stirring ad, “Life,” which has played throughout the state and received more than 175,000 hits on YouTube, Paul describes in detail his experience walking into a hospital room where doctors administered a late-term abortion. “Unless we resolve this,” Paul says, “and understand that life is precious and we must protect life, we can’t protect liberty.”

Paul’s efforts to reach these voters are not new, his campaign aides say. He has worked for years to gain access to an inner circle of Iowa-based religious conservatives. David Lane, a California-based evangelical political activist, has organized off-the-record policy briefings with pastors across the country since the 1990s. These invitation-only meetings give local pastors an opportunity to meet Republican candidates and, until recently, Paul was never invited.

Lane, who helped organize Rick Perry’s August prayer rally in Houston, received multiple requests from Wead to let Paul speak to the pastors. After two years of urging from Wead, Lane agreed to allow Paul to come to a meeting of 400 pastors on Nov. 14 at the Marriott hotel in Des Moines. Paul canceled campaign events in New Hampshire and flew straight to Des Moines, where he joined Gingrich and Perry and delivered his regular speech about how his political beliefs are rooted in the teachings of scripture.

The reactions from the pastors, who were already skeptical of Paul, were mixed. “The evangelical constituency has not been somebody that Ron Paul, as far as I can tell, has really reached out to,” Lane told Yahoo News. “Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich are much more comfortable speaking to that constituency.”

When Paul was on stage that night, a man who claimed to work for the Paul campaign was caught slipping anti-Gingrich flyers under the doors of the pastors’ hotel rooms. The campaign says the man is not involved with the candidate in any capacity–the flyers said they were printed by a mysterious group called “Iowans for Christian Leaders in Government”–but the insinuation couldn’t have helped Paul, who already was perceived as an outsider out at the conference.

Regardless, Paul’s team saw having access to Lane’s network of Iowa religious leaders as a major breakthrough.

“The bottom line,” Wead said, “is that we are now battling for the evangelical vote too.”

Holly Bailey contributed to this report.

This story is part of a series of articles on the politics of Iowa, leading up to Saturday’s Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, sponsored by Yahoo News and ABC News. Come to Yahoo! at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday to watch the debate, to provide real-time feedback, and to watch and read live coverage and analysis.

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