Republican candidates - Ron Paul
- 2 December 2011
- From the section US & Canada
As the first votes of the primary season approach, the BBC looks at the Republican candidates hoping to stand against President Barack Obama in November.
The Texas congressman has won a devoted following among libertarian-minded Republicans with his calls for a return to the gold standard, the abolition of the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service, and his staunch opposition - unusual in the Republican Party - to American militarism and the war on drugs.
Dr Paul, a 76-year-old former obstetrician, ran for president in 1988 and 2008. In the latter campaign, his supporters gained a reputation for their enthusiasm and for their practice of disrupting rival candidates' rallies and press conferences.
Though his supporters are devoted, Dr Paul's detractors say he is too eccentric and his ideas too fringe for him to contend seriously for the Republican nomination.
Dr Paul has raised sufficient money to remain competitive, but he has also remained solidly in the middle of the pack in the polls, neither rising to confront Mitt Romney nor falling to irrelevance.
See a full profile of Ron Paul.