As the polls reflect, the appeal of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is sweeping the nation.
No better was that exemplified than on NBC's Tonight Show Friday when the Texas Congressman received a standing ovation as he walked onto the stage to meet host Jay Leno (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
After discussing the "statistical tie" he's in with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in Iowa, Paul told Leno he's been enjoying the debates up to this point, "But I wish it was a real debate and I didn't have to wait two hours to talk three minutes." This was greeted with additional applause from the audience.
The Congressman then acknowledged that this was the most momentum he's ever had in all of his runs for president, and said that his current success is more a function of the country changing than him changing his message.
"I tried to prevent some wars from starting, and now the American people are tired of the wars." He continued, "I've talked a lot about economics...and there was a lot of handwriting on the wall about financial bubbles and housing bubbles, and now that they have come about, the credibility has built and the people are very worried about the economy, and that's something I've talked about for a long, long time."
Paul also said that younger voters are interested in him because, "My ideas are young."
"Freedom is very appealing," he told Leno. "It's based on principle...but I think young people don't have their minds all mixed up. Some people, especially if they go to Washington, and then they go to college and they really get their minds mixed up."
He added, "I think younger people tend to be more principled, and later on we're taught to blend in and mesh in and go along with the crowd. You certainly notice that in Washington. People go there with high principles, before you know it they sort of change their minds."