Rep. Ron Paul may be ready to spend some of his hard earned campaign cash on a media blitz — but one of his new spots, which features regular folk in New Hampshire talking about their support for the libertarian Republican presidential candidate — seems to be less than popular with Paul supporters.
The campy advertisement was lambasted by Slate.com, which used voiceovers to share YouTube.com comments from loyal Paul supporters who thought the spot was an embarrassment.
“I’ve been supporting a moron all this time,” wrote one YouTuber.
Campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said the campaign will continue to run the ad despite criticism from die-hard Paul backers.
“I think they didn’t realize that (the ad) isn’t designed to speak to them. It is for people who are still getting to know Dr. Paul,” Benton said. “As people start to roll it around in their head a little more… they are saying ‘it makes sense, it’s supposed to be for people who are considering Dr. Paul.”
“We didn’t raise all that money last quarter for nothing,” Kate Rick, the New Hampshire spokeswoman and media contact for the Paul campaign, told the magazine. “We’ve got the grass-roots support and the resources. Now we’re really ready to blast it out.”
Last week, the campaign got some great news from a Saint Aslem College poll that put Paul in fourth place in the New Hampshire Republican primary, placing ahead of Fred Thompson at 7 percent.
“It is nice and encouraging to see an improvement in the one metric in which we still trail,” Benton said.
The campaign has a fundraising goal of $12 million by the end of December. Benton said the campaign has raised $3 million toward that goal.
The campaign made headlines last month when it announced it had raised more than $5 million in the third quarter, outpacing several of his more high-profile opponents for the Republican nomination.
Paul is back in the news on the “Wired” Web site, but the story isn’t positive. Wired is reporting that a computer forensics researcher found that supporters of the candidate are using hacked computers to spread Paul-spam over the Internet.
Paul spokesman Benton said the campaign did not know about the spam and that it is not affiliated with the operation.
“This is clearly a criminal act in support of a campaign, which has been committed with or without their knowledge,” Gary Warner, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s director of research in computer forensics, said in the Wired interview.
Wired reports that the spam was detected by Warner through e-mails by the University of Alabama’s spam data mining project Spam Data Mining for Law Enforcement Applications after the Republican debate Sunday. The messages contained subject lines featuring gibberish familiar to anyone who has received spam: “Ron Paul Wins GOP Debate! HMzjoqO” and “Ron Paul Exposes Federal Reserve! SBHBcSO.”
While Paul has plenty of real supporters online, some of his unusual successes in online polls are alleged to have been tied to spam activity as well.
On Thursday, Wired added more on the story, reporting on more examples of alleged Paul-related spam.
Time magazine also provides one more Paul anecdote: Tuesday, both Paul and Tom Cruise were guests on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Cruise went to Paul’s dressing room and told him: “Go. Go. Go. Go hard.” Cruise apparently likes Paul because he fought against a bill that would force kids to get screened for mental illnesses. Paul asked his aide, “What movies has he been in?”