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Ron Paul's Lonely Breakfast of Champions Ron Paul's Lonely Breakfast of Champions

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Ron Paul's Lonely Breakfast of Champions

DES MOINES -- So I am eating the free breakfast buffet at the downtown Embassy Suites and who should stroll in but Ron Paul. By himself.

This may not seem strange to the average voter, but anyone who writes about politics or makes their living off it knows that a presidential candidate -- especially one who could win the nation's first nominating contest in five days -- never ever goes anywhere without an entourage of some sort. One of the main reasons for the entourage is to keep pesky reporters away and fetch things so that said candidate can eat breakfast before another long day on the campaign trail.

But Paul doesn't need a sidekick to fill his plate at the breakfast buffet, fetch his coffee, whisper talking points into his ear, or get rid of pesky reporters -- he does that all himself, thank you very much. Asked if he's concerned that if he doesn't win his followers will not rally behind the GOP nominee, he looks up from his plate of cantaloupe, honeydew, eggs, sausage and biscuit and says brusquely, "Right now, the only thing that bothers me is people who don't respect my privacy enough to leave me alone for five minutes when I'm eating breakfast." And then he goes back to reading his USA Today.

Charming. (By the way, if this were to happen to Romney, which it wouldn't, a SWAT team would immediately surround the reporter to oversee damage control.)

Paul, wearing a white shirt and jeans, insists he doesn't have time for even one question because he needs to shave before a morning television appearance. A few minutes later, he tries to get the waitress's attention and fails. Oh bother, he shrugs. And that's exactly why the people who love the Texas congressman/tea party icon/libertarian standard-bearer love him so intensely. He's just a cranky old man who wants to eat his eggs in peace before he sets out to save the world.

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