Ron Paul refused to accept the terms demanded by Republican convention planners in order for him to receive a speaking slot at this week’s convention, with Paul in part spurning the invite because he says he does not fully endorse Mitt Romney’s candidacy
In an interview with the New York Times published today, Paul claims that convention organizers told him he could deliver a speech on two conditions. First, the Romney campaign would get to vet his speech, and second, he would have to give a full-blown endorsement of the GOP nominee. Paul balked at both requirements.
“It wouldn’t be my speech,” Paul told the Times. “That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.”
Paul’s inclusion in the convention has been a much-debated topic within the GOP. With the election possibly headed toward a photo finish, Republicans are wary of angering a passionate voting block by simply barring Paul from speaking. On the other hand, Paul openly criticizes some of his fellow Republicans’ central policies, so there is some concern that giving him free reign to speak his mind on the biggest stage would harm Romney’s chances in November.
Paul’s small but dedicated following had already vowed to show up at the convention en masse and to make a quixotic push to nominate him from the floor to represent the party. Paul ultimately struck a deal to settle a debate over the seating of delegates he amassed during the primaries that calmed talk of that possibility.
Though he won’t have a central role in the convention Paul will, however, receive a video tribute put together by his supporters.