Ron Paul: Huckabee exit 'opens up the door for us'

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is looking to attract supporters of Mike Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses who declined to run again in 2012.

Speaking in the Hawkeye State, Paul said he is well positioned to win over former Huckabee voters, who tend to be socially conservative. 

"I think that opens up the door for us because he is one that stood for family values and it’s something that we’ve been pushing real hard," Paul said Monday during a news conference, according to Radio Iowa. "And I think there’s a chance that we will be able to capture a lot of those votes."

Paul, the libertarian Texas congressman, is looking to make greater inroads during the 2012 campaign than he did in 2008, the last time he ran for president.

Other GOP contenders, such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), are also looking to make a major play in Iowa, the first caucus state, and former Huckabee voters could help swing the race next year. 

According to Radio Iowa, Paul said that he believes marriage laws should be determined by the states, but called on the Obama administration to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. 

Despite his libertarian views, Paul said his socially conservative views will play well with Iowa GOP voters.

“I am really encouraged when I see people like you coming out and willing to work and knowing what the odds are, but you also know what the stakes are,” Paul said. “And believe me, I’ve been doing this for a few years and comparing not only to 20 or 30 years ago, but comparing it to four years ago, believe me — things have changed. People are very enthusiastic.”

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