I hate to break the news, but Ron Paul isn't going to be our 44th president. Readers interested in the campaign's atmospherics might, however, be amused by the low-level white noise his supporters create virtually anywhere politics is happening. The young fellow pictured above is just one of legions of Paul-ites patrolling downtown Manchester this evening. Just after I snapped this shot, a white SUV festooned with Paul stickers and large American flags zipped past me; its occupants were noisily chanting something about freedom. Earlier, I was at St. Anselm's college, the site of tonight's debate, for a quick TV segment, and walking to my car I heard more chanting (this time just "Ron Paul! Ron Paul!")--no doubt from Paulites furious over their hero's exclusion from tonight's Fox-sponsored GOP debate. As a rough estimate, I would say one sees Ron Paul signs at about half the campaign events held by other candidates (of both parties)

But my favorite moment of all came on the street in downtown Manchester last night. A bunch of young guys who looked like volunteers for another campaign were piling into a car when one of them noticed a flier on the windshield. (You can guess from whence it came.) "Dude!" he told his friend. "You got Paul'd!"

Fun as his followers may be, Paul has been a letdown here in high primary season. He could be using his massive warchest to wreac havoc on the Republican field--by, say, singling out one of his rivals for millions of dollars in attack ads. Instead he's mainly been running soft positive ads spotlighting his past military service and support among enlisted men and women. C'mon, Ron--go nuclear! That's how to really get attention.... 

--Michael Crowley