MEREDITH, New Hampshire — Tatiana does not hide her tears of happiness as she gushes, “Ron Paul, you are my hero.”
She shouts her praise at the top of her lungs as the Republican presidential candidate graciously accepts to pose for a photo with her.
The 32-year-old woman is among the many young people who came to a hotel ballroom in the small town of Meredith to meet with the 76-year-old Texan doctor ahead of Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire.
The room is crowded and the applause is loud. “Revolution!” shout supporters.
Dressed in a navy sweater and open-necked shirt, the oldest of the Republicans vying for the party’s nomination elegantly explains his radical economic views, including his opposition to the Federal Reserve, the Department of Education, and US military interventions abroad.
Paul on Sunday denounced the “military-industrial complex” and called for ending aid to Israel, which he even encouraged to become “the Hong Kong of the Middle East.”
He also talks about defending the Constitution and freedoms.
The other candidates, he says, “support the status quo” while “the country is looking for something completely different.”
Voters in New Hampshire refuse to be taken for granted. With Ron Paul, a Libertarian running for president for the third time, they cannot hide their enthusiam.
Outside the hotel, near Lake Winnipesaukee, another of his young supporters held a huge sign declaring, “Ron Paul, we love you!”
“He is the only one to tell the truth,” says Tatiana Moroz, who wore a Ron Paul T-shirt and said she had decided to write a song dedicated to her favorite candidate.
“He is the first candidate that really excits me,” adds James Blalock, who came here from Chicago to hear Paul. ”
“He brings people from different political spectrums together. He is anti-establishment, he respects our troops.”
Kyle Shattuck, a 34-year-old technician, came here with his mother, fiancee and brother — all Ron Paul fans.
In the evening, Shattuck volunteers for the Paul campaign making phone calls from home.
“He is not unelectable if people vote for him!” he says with indignation, rebuffing comments by some pundits who have questioned Paul chances of winning the White House.
This view is shared by Dawn McGill, a mother of three. she says even some Democrats have switched parties to vote for Paul in Tuesday’s primary because of his commitment to civil liberties and his opposition to foreign wars.
“If he is not the nominee, for the first time I will not vote Republican, and I am not alone,” McGill says firmly, counting herself among those who say they will not vote for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the favorite of the opinion polls to win the GOP presidential nomination.
A survey published Sunday by Suffolk University/7News gave Paul 20-percent support in New Hampshire, 15 percentage points behind Romney.
But regardless of the outcome in New Hampshire, the Texas congressman is already aiming at South Carolina, the next state to hold a primary on January 21.
Paul plans to arrive in that southern state probably as early as Wednesday.
“South Carolina will be a nice test for us,” he says, “because it is a bigger state.”
Paul says he has the necessary funding and a good organization to wage his campaign.
When asked about his health, he smiles and challenges his supporters to go with him on a bike ride.