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Crowds Gather for the USF Republican Debate

Supporters and protesters alike gathered on the University of South Florida campus for tonight's debate.

As the four Republican candidates took to the stage for tonight's debate, supporters and protesters alike gathered on the University of South Florida campus to share their opinions.

"I wanted people to know that his (Ron Paul's) supporters don't just represent fringe folks," said William Mahmet, 30, of St. Petersburg. "We are regular folks, too."

Northwest Tampa resident Terry Wickman turned out to show support for former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

"If you watch the debates, he has the best answers ... There's nothing canned about it. You need a leader in this country — not someone who just reads a teleprompter."

USF students were also out in force, with some protesting the Republican platform.

"We are protesting the issues we have with the GOP's issues," said a student named Hunter, who declined to give his last name. "We are here to show we are the people."

He said that he believes the Republican party shows discrimination toward the lesbian, gay and transgendered community.

Stay with Patch for updates about the debate.

scott January 24, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Someone needs to tell Hunter there are vastly more important and pressing issues then Gay Rights. And that "we" means him.
John Lazarz January 24, 2012 at 06:11 AM
There were about a thousand Ron Paul supporters there and only about a dozen Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum supporters. Make no mistake about it the "ban same-sex marriage" sign was from a racist group supporting some Terry guy. We were arguing with this group all night and these pictures deliberately mix us in with them.
Bud Semich January 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
"The Florida pastor (Terry Jones) is known for threatening in 2010 to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and eventually did so last March, sparking an international reaction that included protests in Afghanistan, where effigies of the pastor were burned in the streets." http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/12/pastor-terry-jones-uc-irvine.html The pictures taken were of Ron Paul supporters in a lively discussion with the racist fundamentalist church group (*wearing the white Stand up America) shirts. The media in this case deliberately mentioned nothing about the racist church group, portraying Ron Paul supporters as Terry Jones supporters. This is slander and irresponsible journalism. Please repost this flagrant misdirection as Ron Paul is for our freedom to marry who we want and does not want to burn the Koran.

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