Posted: December 14, 2007 11:52 AM
Paul Blimp Aims to Fly the Revolution Around the East Coast
Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s inventive supporters have come up with the most creative campaign plot of the 2008 race: They’ve hired a blimp to spread Paul’s name across the skies of the eastern United States.
The blimp idea is almost as novel as the private company set up to finance it. Liberty Political Advertising, LLC, was created to pay for the blimp rental and to put the “Who is Ron Paul?” banner on the side of the 197-foot dirigible. Because Liberty Political Advertising is not a political action committee or officially affiliated with the Paul campaign, it is not subject to campaign finance laws or regulations, Politco reported.
“Liberty Political Advertising is selling political advertisements that you can sponsor. Right now we are selling advertising time for Ron Paul, primarily on the Ron Paul Blimp. You can buy as much ad time as you like. When the advertising time you sponsored ends the next customer’s advertising time begins (until their time runs out)…and the process repeats for as long as the advertisement’s sponsorship lasts,” RonPaulBlimp.com explains.
The blimp is being outfitted with the second of two Paul banners and launched Friday from a hangar in Elizabeth City, N.C. The original plan was for the blimp to float above Boston on Dec. 16 — both the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the date for another of Paul’s money bomb fundraising efforts. Supporters hope to add millions more to Paul’s already-impressive $11.4-million fourth-quarter haul.
Paul Blimp project manager Katharine Memole said that the blimp can only fly under a specific set of weather conditions. The winter precipitation predicted for Boston on Dec. 16 would make it dangerous to fly the blimp because snow or freezing rain could cause the blimp to flip over or collapse into the ground, crushing the passenger gondola.
Instead, the blimp will fly over Columbia, S.C. during the “money bomb” effort before heading north. Memole said the company plans to fly the blimp over East Coast cities including New York, Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Liberty currently has $200,000, which will keep the blimp aloft for about a week, but the company will need to reach $400,000 by Dec. 21 to keep the blimp afloat until the New Hampshire primaries on Jan. 8, according to its Web site. Memole said the company hopes to direct the blimp to New Hampshire before the state’s key primary vote.