Presidential candidate Ron Paul was stung yesterday after rivals exposed his use of a performance enhancing character. So far the Ron Paul campaign has had no comment on the allegations that it employed the legendary Pied Piper to draw voters to minor straw poll events, though it has not denied previous accusations about its tactics in internet polls. The use of performance enhancing characters has been widely condemned in US politics ever since John F. Kennedy's legacy was tarnished by his use of a leprechaun.
Mitt Romney first brought the straw poll issue after Paul won a few straw polls, including events in Alabama and New Hampshire. "It's just not right," fumed Romney, "we're supposed to win these things by buying off voters with free tickets, food, and transportation." Kent Snyder, campaign manager for Ron Paul, responded by criticizing Romney's money politics, but did not deny the charge.
The story has fleshed out as follows. Ron Paul read about the Pied Piper in his childhood and always had a secret fascination for the character. Somehow, in a way not yet known, Paul discovered a secret door into the magical world where the Pied Piper and other mythical characters live. He entered and met with the Pied Piper, discussing his libertarian and federalist views. The musical character, who apparently already had libertarian leanings, jumped on the Ron Paul bandwagon and offered his help.
The Ron Paul campaign deployed the Piper during the West Alabama straw poll, helping the candidate to win in a landslide. He was able to get the Piper to New Hampshire in time for another small poll and secured victory there as well, though not by the same margin. They also sent the Piper to North Carolina, but he arrived late and Paul only finished in third place.
Other candidates have also condemned Ron Paul's use of performance enhancing characters. Rudy Giuliani described it as "absurd and outrageous" and said that if Paul doesn't stop, then Giuliani may have to resort to campaigning in drag. Mike Huckabee retracted his complaint after accusations surfaced that he had used diet drugs to lose weight. Duncan Hunter was particularly upset, as he had falled under the Piper's sway in the Alabama event and tried to vote for Ron Paul - though his vote did not count as he is not from Alabama. John McCain could not be reached for comment as he is struggling for air.
Rumors are now circulating that the Paul campaign will expand its use of the Piper in an attempt to get the mainstream media to attend the candidate's press conferences. Snyder had no comment on that allegation either.