Hundreds of Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) supporters staged a walkout during Sen. John McCain’s Wednesday evening speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
A long stream of Paul’s backers from Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon, Arizona, and several other states protested the Republican National Committee's treatment of Paul and his supporters by walking out of the convention hall with chants of, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation!”
Paul’s supporters vehemently opposed the move because they make up the most significant presence, next to Romney’s backers, at the convention and want their voices to be acknowledged as not supporting Romney.
A separate group of at least 100 Paul supporters discussed walking out as a possibility at-length Tuesday night in private talks, according to two people involved in those discussions. That group eventually decided not to walk out.
“To be honest with you, I didn't know it was going to happen. I just joined in," said Alex Judd, an alternate delegate from Arizona.
“I think we're going to leave tonight. I don't agree with all the speakers that they have here. It just makes me sick,” he said. He added that he even thought the speech by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who endorsed Mitt Romney, was just “OK.”
“I'm not going to say it was great, spectacular, nothing like that,” he said.
One supporter from Oklahoma said the group wasn’t planning to return to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday when Mitt Romney is expected to accept the nomination of the Republican Party.
Paul’s economic and military policies differ from Romney’s and the Texas lawmaker has amassed a large and very loyal following of supporters who have been reluctant to throw their support behind the former Massachusetts governor.
A New Mexico delegate for Paul, named Patrick, said the congressman’s backers were disgusted with their treatment by the RNC.
“They're criminals, and they're crooks, and we want transparency,” he said outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "I have a message for the RNC. The Ron Paul Republicans are not going anywhere … this movement is going to take back this country and restore constitutional law in our lifetimes, and we're going to do it whether the RNC, or the Reince Priebuses and all the RNC crooks like it or not.”
Yet another Paul supporter from Oklahoma, who would only say his name was Mason, also blasted Romney and put him in the same boat as President Obama.
“I wouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney any more than I would vote for Obama,” he said. “They’re both war mongers and elitists. There’s no difference. It’s two sides of the same coin. And nothing’s going to change.”