The head of the Republican National Committee says congressman Ron Paul and his supporters are "welcomed with open arms" at the Republican National Convention. Even so, the man who is technically still a candidate for president has no speaking role and is planning a separate event before the convention.
Despite worries that Paul supporters will be a distraction in Tampa, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tells Fox News, "I would keep the powder dry on Ron Paul. I think he is going to have a great week. We certainly respect what his people have done and what he has done in this campaign."
Priebus points out the congressman's son, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul, has what he calls a "very prominent speaking place" at the convention. The time slot for that hasn't been announced yet, and the chairman wouldn't give specifics.
Paul has planned what he calls a "Rally for Liberty Delegates" for Sunday, Aug. 26, at the University of South Florida's Sun Dome. The arena seats 11,000 people, and the campaign is still trying to get a grasp on how many people will attend.
The Associated Press puts the number of Paul delegates at 160. That is obviously nothing compared to the 1,552 for Romney, which means his delegates will easily be able to control the party's platform.
Even so, Paul's campaign is still contesting delegates in Maine and Louisana. And regardless of what happen, Paul's supporters are very passionate. Paul himself has even acknowledged the potential for rowdiness. In a video posted on Paul's campaign website, he is seen encouraging supporters to keep a positive message, which he calls much more effective.
There is unquestioned agreement in GOP ranks on many of Paul's libertarian views like lower taxes, smaller government and accountability. But his more stringent ideas, like abolishing the Federal Reserve System, don't jive with mainstream Republican ideas and aren't likely to be added into the GOP platform.
Priebus says he doesn't expect "much change in the platform" from years past. He says the platform will use past platforms as a guideline and will focus on taxes, debt reduction, energy and other core Republican values.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is in charge of the GOP platform committee, which will meet Monday and Tuesday in Tampa.