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Ron Paul plays to packed house as supporters await victory

By James Oliphant January 2, 2012, 1:25 p.m. Reporting from Des Moines

While other candidates were speaking at coffeehouses and diners on the day before the Iowa caucuses, Ron Paul was greeted by a crowd of 500 and scores of national media who packed a downtown hotel ballroom for a morning event.

“This is almost like a real rally,” the Republican presidential hopeful exclaimed. “This is great!”

Polls show Paul in a position to pull off an upset victory in the caucuses Tuesday night, an accomplishment that, if it happens, would amount to one extremely sharp stick in the eye of the GOP establishment.

The turnout had Paul’s supporters crowing.