COLUMBIA, S.C. -- As his primary rivals in South Carolina claw at each other for first place and look toward Florida, Rep. Ron Paul described the strategy that explains his low profile and relative absence from this state.
"The name of the game is getting delegates," the Texas Republican told CBS News/National Journal as he stood outside Kilbourne Baptist Church's polling station on Saturday afternoon, shaking hands and taking pictures with voters with his wife, Carol, by his side. "If you look at delegates that we've gotten in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina, we've done pretty much what our plan has been laid out to be."
And it's going to stay that way. Paul is aiming to do well in caucus states and places where delegates are allotted proportionally instead of securing splashy victories.
Because South Carolina uses a winner-take-all system to award delegates, he did not concentrate his efforts here as heavily as elsewhere. The same goes for Florida; he instead has bought substantial air time in Minnesota and Nevada, which are holding caucuses in early February.
Although Paul's loyal followers often are irritated at what they consider his being shortchanged in the debates, Paul himself is mostly unperturbed, partly because he said audiences have been letting moderators know about it.
"Sometimes they get very boring and then I have to wait my turn," he said, chuckling. "And then if I don't get my turn, I have to start waving my hands. And then if I don't get my turn, the audience starts shouting."
According to a Washington Post analysis, Paul held 12 events here in four days. Rick Santorum held 60 events in 21 days; Newt Gingrich held 52 events in 23 days, and Mitt Romney held 25 events in 19 days.