FORT WORTH — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul isn't getting out of the presidential race anytime soon.
But the Lake Jackson doctor did say that fellow Republican Rick Santorum's decision to suspend his campaign has led many to ask Paul about his plans.
"There were 12 [GOP candidates] at one time. Now there are three," he told a standing-room-only crowd at the 2,856-seat Will Rogers Auditorium on Wednesday night. "It looks like we are cutting the field down.
"They ask me if I'm going to quit. I thought we were just getting started. We have a revolution to fight, a country to change."
Paul, who trails Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, reiterated his themes of limited government, personal liberty and a balanced budget.
He said that troops should come home, that government should be reduced, that the Patriot Act should be repealed, that foreign policy interactions should decrease, and that the middle class needs to stop shrinking and stop becoming poorer. As for the nation's healthcare plan, "the easiest thing is to repeal the whole thing and start all over," he said.
Many in the crowd, who stood throughout Paul's speech, waited for hours to get in. Once inside, they were quick to show their support.
Four shirtless men had painted "R-O-N-!" on their chests. Others spontaneously chanted "President Paul." And many carried signs or wore promotional buttons and T-shirts.
Cries of "I love you, Ron Paul," could be heard throughout the auditorium once he began speaking.
Paul said such enthusiasm is encouraging.
"People ask, 'When are you going to drop out?' When nobody wants to support the cause of liberty," he said. "There's a lot of people who care about freedom ... so we will keep going until we have victory."
Paul's supporters are expected to be a force at state GOP conventions nationwide -- as they were during his 2008 presidential bid -- trying to become delegates for Paul at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August. They hope for a brokered convention that could open the door for Paul to become the nominee.
This is his third bid for the White House. His others were in 1988 as a Libertarian and in 2008 as a Republican.
His goal with this week's three-city Texas tour -- Fort Worth is home to his doctor son Robert -- is likely to make sure that people in his home state hear his message.
"He's trying to preach to people his mission and create a libertarian understanding of politics," said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University.
"The longer this primary season goes forward, the more opportunities he has to preach the message of libertarianism across the United States.
"The people who have heard his message ... are true believers."
Count Allen Patterson, who heads the Tarrant County Libertarian Party, among those believers.
"Ron Paul has been the gateway drug to libertarianism for a lot of people," Patterson said. "His movement has gained an incredible amount of traction in the past eight years."
Lance Kennedy, 24, of Dallas said he is a fan but is afraid that Paul might not be able to win the nomination.
Kennedy, a law student at Southern Methodist University, said that even if Paul doesn't win, his libertarian message will continue -- perhaps through his son U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
"The movement will continue, and I think we could still see a Paul in the White House eventually," Kennedy said.
Marion Hostetler, 45, said his drive from Ovilla was worth it to see Paul.
"Ron Paul is one of the few people I actually believe," he said. "When he says something, I think I can count on it being true.
"Hopefully America will start waking up and see we only have one candidate."
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