Ron Paul said Tuesday that he warned Mitt Romney to expect an enthusiastic turnout by his supporters in the upcoming caucus states, despite a dominating win by the former Massachusetts governor in the pivotal Florida primary.
"Just a little while ago I called Gov. Romney and congratulated him," said Paul, who was interrupted by loud jeering and boos from his supporters. "No, no, we had a friendly conversation, and I honestly congratulated him, he ran a good campaign, but I also said I would see him soon in the caucus states."
That line drew vociferous cheering from the crowd gathered in Henderson, Nev., where the next contest will be held on Saturday.
But Paul will have to reverse a disappointing fourth-place showing in the Florida caucuses, where he lost even traditional supporters - like the youth vote - for the first time this primary season. But the Texas congressman argued that his dedicated supporters and superior campaign organization should help him to prevail in the coming contests. The next four GOP contests - Nevada, Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota - will all vote via caucus.
"There's something else that the caucus states lend themselves to, because if you have an energized group of people that are working in a campaign and actually believe in something, it's better to work in the caucus states," Paul said.
He then fired up his crowd with a list of grievances against the federal government.
"Something big is happening in this country, and it's all very favorable," Paul said.
Paul also defended his foreign policy stance, which calls for American troops to return home from wars in the Middle East, and the removal of many American military bases overseas. That plan has been a sticking point with many hawkish conservatives.
"I've gotten some advice on the Internet every once in awhile, and the advice is, 'Ron, if you would just change your foreign policy, you would get a few supporters,'" Paul said. "If they only knew that the support for the freedom movement comes from a sound economic policy and a sound foreign policy that makes sense."
That declaration again drew loud cheers from the Nevada crowd. But Paul encouraged his supporters to translate that enthusiasm into action at the caucus sites - something he'll need to provide an upset win over Romney and disrupt the GOP race.
"The enthusiasm is here, but it has to be translated into proper political action," Paul said. "That means attending the caucuses and send a powerful message to this country that we want our freedoms back, we don't want more government."