Republican presidential politics will visit South Carolina next week.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who finished fifth in the S.C. Republican presidential primary last year, will speak at the University of South Carolina on Monday. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who finished second in the primary, will visit Greenville and Spartanburg on Friday as part of his book tour.
Paul, who said in an interview with The State that he has not had any thoughts about a 2012 presidential run, will lecture "on the future of individual liberty and the importance of the U.S. Constitution."
Perhaps not coincidentally, Paul, who represents a district in Texas, is also speaking at Iowa State University next week. Iowa is the first state to hold a presidential preference contest. South Carolina will again be the first state in the South to vote. The past four Republican nominees won South Carolina, so winning in this state is key.
Paul, whose campaign has connected younger voters, said the college lectures are his chance to speak with young voters more likely to have libertarian views. Young people, Paul said, are especially hurt by the poor economy, outsourcing and American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Paul opposes the free trade agreements that opened the door for American manufacturing to go offshore for cheaper labor. He also thinks the United States should pull its military out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Young people are excited about the whole message of personal responsibility and fiscal responsibility," Paul said. "They are often anti-war. They think the drug war is foolish, and they are not asking for handouts from the government."
Paul said today's young people are skeptical of what both parties are selling.
"What they want to hear is the truth," Paul said. "(They know the government) can't just offer free medical care, free education and promise jobs. They see through that."
Paul's lecture is being sponsored jointly by Young Americans for Liberty, the Carolina Debate Union and the USC Honors College.
WANT TO GO?
What: Ron Paul speech
When: 7-9 p.m. Monday
Where: Carolina Coliseum
- Leroy Chapman Jr.