Ron Paul is not really a martial arts master. True, Congressman Paul is dedicated to getting in his exercise, even on the campaign trail: He walks or bikes almost every day. As he told Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show" Tuesday, “that helps relax my brain a little bit."
But that kung fu clip in which Paul destroys an opponent with vintage arm blocks and 360-degree flip kick to the face? Mr. Leno’s staff made that up, and showed it on air during Paul’s appearance. It is very funny, in a David Carradine-meets-the-2012-campaign kind of way – even Paul laughed. Maybe it will show up in one of his famously combative commercials.
Paul has rejected Secret Service protection, by the way. That was the genesis of the kung fu mashup – Leno was purportedly showing why Paul didn’t need other people to provide him protection.
That said, he does have a code name picked out. Romney is “Javelin," named either after a spear or a strange-looking American Motors auto.
But Paul? “Bulldog,” the GOP hopeful said, to applause from the crowd.
“I’d go after the Fed and all that big spending,” he said, by way of explanation.
We’d like to make this observation about Paul’s appearance on the mainstream late-night show. Once again, he lived up to funnyman Jon Stewart’s observation of his effect on the race: He’s the candidate of uncomfortable silences.
The audience seemed full of Paul supporters, who cheered when talked about a brokered convention, and even gave shout-outs when he hit Rick Santorum as a fake conservative. (Mr. Santorum's code name is "Petrus," the rock.)
But Leno got Paul into a long (by late-night standards) discussion on the issue of abortion, in which Paul went into depth about why he’s pro-life.
The audience was dead silent. Many young, educated voters back Paul because he is antiwar and favors drug legalization. This seemed an aspect of their candidate with which they were unfamiliar.
At the end, the audience cheered again, when Paul said, “the solution will have to deal with the morality of the people, not just piling on more laws.” But the whole thing seemed a sudden glance into the flintiness of some of the Texas libertarian’s personal beliefs.