Maverick Republican steals McCain's thunder

Texas Congressman Ron Paul may not be the next US President. But the firey Republican, who failed to win the party's nomination this year, is still hugely popular with grass-roots supporters. He staged a rally in Minneap

More violence erupted on the streets of St Paul, where thousands continued protesting outside the Republican National Convention. Officials say some tried to get past security fences at the Xcel Center where the convention is under way. A beefed-up security force handcuffed civilians and journalists as hysteria filled the crowd.

Meanwhile, across the river in Minneapolis, screams of excitement filled the air. Ron Paul greeted a sea of supporters with a rock star entrance. The former Republican Presidential candidate wasn't invited to speak at his own party's rally, so instead organised his own, stealing some of the spotlight.

The Texas Congressman's limited government, anti-tax and anti-war views have generated a loyal following among voters nationwide.

“We have a vision of what this country should be and we're going to move forward with it no matter what happens in the presidential elections,” a female supporter said.

Many say the forthcoming election offers no choice.
“We see two candidates with zero fundamental differences. They're still going to spend the money. They're going to devour the economy. The only difference is what country to bomb tomorrow,” a male voter said.

Dismissed as inconsequential, Ron Paul has filled an 18,000-seat stadium. His supporters say this event is the start of a revolution, one that rejects military intervention overseas and brings liberty back to America.

Paul says neither Senators John McCain nor Barack Obama are prepared to do this.
“They both want more troops in Afghanistan. They really want to maintain bases in the Middle East for a long time. They want to threaten Iran. And both candidates want to send more of your money to Georgia to protect that oil line,” Paul says.

Paul accuses Washington of escalating the Russia-Georgia conflict by offering NATO membership and military consultation to Tbilisi – moves his supporters denounce.

“There's a certain power group in control in the west and the United States that's very aggressive towards Russia and we don't agree with that,” a Paul follower said.