Ron Paul's campaign is clarifying a message it sent to supporters late Monday signed, “For Liberty, Ron Paul.” The message read, in part: “Moving forward, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted.”
Some media outlets began reporting that Paul had announced he was suspending his campaign. Within a few hours, Paul’s communications director Gary Howard told MSNBC that the announcement was NOT a suspension.
Then this morning, chief campaign strategist Jesse Benton released a memo, followed up by a conference call with reporters, where he reiterated that no suspension had taken place. “Dr. Paul is not suspending his campaign and he's not dropping out of the race,” Benton said on the call. “Dr. Paul plans to first of all continue active campaigning.”
Recent coverage of the Paul campaign has been somewhat limited. Supporters did make headlines when they booed Mitt Romney's son, Josh, at the GOP state convention in Arizona.
Politico’s Charles Mahtesian says that yesterday's announcement was a way to assure Republicans the days of disruption are over: “My own sense is that Paul is sending a tacit message to the GOP establishment that he's not interested in subverting the convention -- he's made his point and is standing down.”
But Salon’s Steve Kornacki has another take. In a post from Sunday night referring to the booing incident in Arizona, he writes, “Similar behavior by Paul backers in Tampa could spoil what for the Romney campaign is supposed to be a nationally televised infomercial." Kornacki goes on to suggest, “Under the extreme worst-case scenario for Republicans, Paul supporters end up with a giant share of the delegate slots… and launch a four-day heckle-fest, bitterly resist any effort to quiet them or evict them from the hall…”
During the conference call this morning, Benton insisted that supporters would be respectful and emphasize decorum. He also discussed three goals the Paul campaign has set: win more states, win party leadership positions at both the state and national level and work on securing more delegates.