Hundreds of students turn out to meet Ron Paul

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., Thursday Jan. 19, 2012.

Robert Behre

Texas Rep. Ron Paul found strong support at the College of Charleston Thursday morning, where throngs of students requested autographs and snapped cell phone pictures after the Republican presidential contender gave a speech stressing the importance of individual liberties.

Paul told hundreds of students gathered in the Stern Student Center courtyard he would aim to cut the annual federal budget by $1 trillion.

"He's the only one who's realistic about fiscal issues," one student said.

Paul, whose popularity among young people is somewhat of an enigma, told the audience: "Young people are waking up. ... They believe in liberty, too."

Discussing drug wars on the Mexican border, Paul said drug prohibitions don't work -- one of the platforms that got the biggest applause. Non-violent drug users "shouldn't be put in prison," he said.

Shortly before Paul's speech, news broke that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and not former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, actually won in Iowa. Additionally, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his decision to withdraw from the race. Paul mentioned neither of the events in his remarks.


Reach Renee Dudley at 937-5550 or on Twitter @renee_dudley.