A crowd of students, local residents and curious bystanders gathered at noon Thursday to hear Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul speak at MU’s Mel Carnahan Quadrangle.
An hour before the start of the speech, people were already getting their seats and the grassy field was soon filled with Paul signs and people sporting Paul pins. Here are thoughts shared by some of those at the rally:
Roger Webb, long-time Ron Paul supporter and Columbia resident, said he likes Paul's libertarian philosophy. "He's the only true Republican out there," he said.
Daniel Hurst, an MU junior, called Paul "a stout American, a true American. He sticks up for what this country was founded on."
Mark Ashmore, an MU sophomore, said he was undecided on a preference. "Ron Paul sounds like a great candidate. I have doubts that he'll become president."
Dakota Beveridge, an MU senior, held a large sign that stood out against the crowd of mostly Paul supporters that read: "Ron Paul Another Rich White Man (Women & Students Against Ron Paul)." Beveridge said she's opposed to "a lot of Ron Paul's policies. I'm against his views on huge cuts, federal spending and women's rights."
Kim Kachiroubas, of St. Louis, stood alongside Beveridge and also held a handmade sign, but with a colorful portrait of Paul on it. She said this event was her third Paul rally: "I like everything about Ron Paul."
Paul Gray, 23, was selling self-designed T-shirts that show Paul in a hat and have "Viva la Constitución" written in black. Gray, of Ohio, said he has been traveling around the country selling his shirts and donating proceeds to the Paul campaign. "I'm here selling shirts and for the Ron Paul love. I really like his anti-intervention foreign policy. I'm a fan of his fiscal prudence and his pro-gay rights stance."
Brian Acock, an MU senior, said Paul is "bringing the government back to the people."
Ryan Yoakum, 23, said, "I like the fact that he stands for peace, not war. He is constant without changing his stance every other week. He believes in personal liberty.”