Ron Paul Supporters, Debate Protesters Gather at Oakland University

The "Freedom of Speech Area" outside O’rena united people of different beliefs Wednesday in Rochester.

Even though implemented Freedom of Speech Area guidelines for those interested in demonstrating during tonight's Republican presidential candidates' debate on campus, students and local residents still came out to make their voices heard.

A slow trickle of people could be found lining the wooden fence some 50 feet west of Pioneer Drive, atop a large hill, beginning around 5 p.m., and while the majority came out in support of GOP candidate Ron Paul, others came out in protest.

Jason Poupard, 28, of Lake Orion, wasn't demonstrating against any of the candidates or in support of the Republicans. A former Army Specialist and current OU history major, Poupard, dressed in his full Army uniform, came out to protest the Freedom of Speech Area itself while quoting the 1968 Supreme Court ruling in the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District as the basis for his opinion.

"It's public land," Poupard said of OU. "We debate here all day, every day. So, just because the Republican candidates are here, our voices are to be sequestered? It doesn't make sense to me.”

Others were decidedly partisan, and by 5:30 p.m., a crowd of 50 Ron Paul supporters could be found farther west, outside Kresge Library, chanting “President Paul,” waving signs, and exchanging jokes with key political figures as the punchlines.

Brian Kosobudzki, a Ron Paul supporter from Sterling Heights, said that he traveled to Rochester to give Paul “a hero’s welcome” to Michigan.

The candidate did show up at the rally.

Ron Paul supporters planned to march together from the library to the fence area, in order to cheer on Paul as he entered the arena.

Kosobudzki, who claimed that he “used to be an Establishment Republican” before joining the Paul campaign before the 2008 election cycle, said that he felt the Paul campaign has a much better chance in 2012. Paul dropped out of the 2008 election in June of that year.

“We felt he gave up too early last time and now we feel like he’s running like a real candidate,” Kosobudzki said. “The grassroots effort that you see here tonight is more in line with the official campaign. It’s gotten better organized. People want to hear this message here in Michigan.”

Taylor Borne said that she came out of biology class at OU and straight to the mini-rally for Paul, citing a need to balance the national budget as an impetus for her involvement in the campaign.

“What we’re going to be talking about in the debate tonight — basically jobs, and the economy — should play into Ron Paul’s strengths. It resonates a lot here. It’s something people are really concerned with,” said Borne, 18, of Goodrich.

Overall, Paul supporters were thrilled — not just to be part of their own company — also to see their candidate, for whom they have great loyalty, on a national stage. Clutching a sign some six feet in length in support of Paul’s presidential bid, which dwarfed her short frame, Sue McQueen of Clarkston said that she was happy to see Paul’s name “up in lights.”

“Ron Paul will not get national media recognition despite the fact that he does well in the polls,” said McQueen, 50, of Clarkston. “Michigan needs to listen to what he says. This subject matter means a lot to people here.”

Kraig G. Johnston November 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM
At least 275, I throught there was up to 800 ardent Ron Paul supporters outside the event.
Kristin Bull November 10, 2011 at 01:52 PM
We were posting stories related to the debate all day long and this one was posted earlier in the day when there were, indeed, about 50 Paul supporters gathered near Kresge (the time is indicated in the story). Here is a story, posted later, that details the hundreds waiting for Ron Paul as he entered the university and also the crowd gathered at both restaurants nearby: http://patch.com/A-n9mQ
fred November 10, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Dr. Paul has the experience (government, military, and business), the brains (great ideas!), and the character (honesty and family values) all combined. I don't see why he isn't electable. I'm registering republican (a first) so I can vote for him in the primaries. The one point he seems to be lacking (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that although he makes many proposals, it seems like they are rarely accepted. Oh yes, other people co-opt his ideas (Romney on health, Perry on eliminating departments . . .), but they don't WANT to implement his ideas so they don't pass his legislation. What Ron Paul needs to explain is that all these copycats are mouthing his ideas, but they don't really mean it. If they did, they would have backed his ideas in the first place. They will go back to their old non-ideas once they are elected. But then, and I can't believe I'm saying this, Dr. Paul should borrow Herman Cain's rhetoric that if the American people elect him, they will have bought into his ideas (a mandate) - and that will force the rest of the government to implement the ideas that he proposes. Dr. Paul, best of luck, you've got a lot of work to do!
Liberty November 10, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Ron Paul is the most amazing Presidential candidate that we have had in over a century. The media ignoring him by not mentioning his name during conversations regarding the election discussions will not damper his message of liberty and following the Constitution. He is a man of character and he deserves our votes. The other candidates are just puppets for PAC, the Lobbyists, Continuing or starting new wars, and/or of the big banks. Take a look at this video and please share it with anyone that you can think of. http://runronpaul.com/campaign-trail/the-world-endorses-ron-paul-2012/
Adam de Angeli November 10, 2011 at 05:50 PM
The 50 people at the free speech zone were in the wrong place. The other hundreds of supporters were lined up elsewhere.


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