By Bob Cusack - 08/20/11 09:30 AM EDT
A Republican congressman is blaming media "arrogance" for the paltry coverage of Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) second-place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who has endorsed Paul, told the Hill that "fair-minded people don't know why Ron Paul is not given adequate press." He pointed the finger at the "arrogance of certain people in the media who don't think he can win."
Despite finishing a close second behind Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in the straw poll, Paul attracted little attention from the media. Over the past week, cable-news shows and print outlets have primarily focused on Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R).
The perceived snub of Paul was the topic of a segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." The clip was linked on the influential Drudge Report website.
Jones said the press "is going to have to deal with Ron Paul eventually," predicting Paul will do very well in the Iowa Caucus and perform better than expectations in New Hampshire.
Many political pundits don't believe Paul can win in November 2012, and doubt he will win the GOP nomination. Despite strong support from the grassroots and a healthy campaign war chest, Paul did not win one state during the 2008 presidential primary. Yet his showing this year in the Iowa Straw Poll was much stronger than four years ago, when he finished fifth. Paul ended up in fifth place again in the Iowa Caucus months later.
Asked if Paul can beat President Obama in the general election, Jones responded, "absolutely," citing the president's low approval ratings on the economy.
In a move to deal with the electability issue, Paul recently launched a new advertisement claiming he is "the one" to defeat Obama.
This year will be different, Jones said, because "the country is in worse trouble." He added that Paul's message on the Federal Reserve, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the nation's debt are resonating more than ever.
"People have lost hope in traditional Democratic and Republican candidates," the North Carolina lawmaker said.
Many supporters of Paul don't agree with the Texas Republican on every issue, Jones noted, but they trust him.
"There are show horses, and work horses," Jones said. "Paul is a work horse."
Jones is one of two members of Congress who have backed Paul's bid. The other is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Paul's son.
Paul will be visiting Jones' district on Oct. 7.