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Ron Paul finally gets his moment at the Republican Convention (+video)

Rep. Ron Paul did not get a speaking slot at the GOP convention. But a video paid tribute to him,and his son Sen. Rand Paul let Republicans know that his father’s brand of libertarianism remains a force within the party.

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It wasn’t billed as such, but Ron Paul’s moment at the Republican Convention Wednesday evening marked the effective end of a long and remarkable political career as the libertarian gadfly within the GOP.

He gave no scheduled speech here; he had refused to let the Romney campaign pre-approve any comments he might have made. And his supporters fought hard and very vocally to the end – unsuccessfully, as it turned out – against the Republican Party’s last-minute efforts to restrict the number and voice of future insurgents, obviously referencing the 177 delegates Mr. Paul had won in the party’s presidential caucuses and primaries and were pushing to have his name at least entered into nomination before the roll call vote.

But it does the Republican Party and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign no good to alienate an active and unique slice of conservatism – one with considerable overlap with the tea party movement.

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So early Wednesday evening (before prime-time convention broadcasts), US Rep. Paul received a video tribute to his career. And in a speech a few minutes later, his son US Sen. Rand Paul let Republicans know that his father’s brand of libertarianism remains a force within the party.

In comments from a range of politicians – at least one of whom confessed that at first he thought Ron Paul was “crazy – the 12-term Texas congressman was lauded as one who “never wavered, never backed down.”

“I used to tell new members that they could make a difference or they could make a point,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. “Ron Paul is the only one who’s made a difference by making a point.”

In his speech a few minutes later, and with a twinkle in his eye, Rand Paul referred to his father just once – as “a certain congressman from Texas who ran for the presidency of the United States.”

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