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Paul campaign reaches out with food

BY ALLIE WRIGHT | OCTOBER 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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Ron Paul likes his wife's recipe for peaches and chicken.

It's an easy recipe. Simply cover chicken breasts in flour, salt, and pepper and brown them in butter and oil. Next, coat the chicken in orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, basil, and nutmeg and bake for one hour. Last, place half of a peach in between each chicken breast and bake again for 15 minutes.

Through this recipe and hundreds of others, the family of the current Republican Iowa caucus hopeful has connected to voters across the country in a nontraditional way.

Carol Paul wanted to find a way to make her large family relatable to voters. She wanted to come up with an idea that would connect herself and her husband of more than 50 years to the American public without involving talk of foreign policy, the economy, or the death penalty.

Carol Paul is the creative mind behind perhaps the most unique — and tasty — grass-roots campaign effort in years.

At first, Ron Paul was skeptical about the cookbook as a campaign tactic, but she persuaded him it would be a good idea, she said.

"We thought people will get a [campaign] card, and look at it, and throw it away," said Carol Paul, who lives in Lake Jackson, Texas. "But someone would have a little harder time throwing away an 11- or 12-page cookbook."

The Ron Paul Family Cookbook was first published in 1996, the 75-year-old said, when her husband decided to run for Congress after a more than decade-long hiatus. Carol Paul said she hopes to release the newest edition around Thanksgiving.

The cookbook consists of family recipes, photos, Bible verses, and a foreword from her titled "The American Dream," in which she talks about how she and Ron Paul grew up and shares other family stories.

"The recipes include things you have on your shelves and things that always work," she said. "When [people] cook things, they didn't have to worry, you know, if [the recipes] would work."

Initially, the family only planned one cookbook, but as a result of lots of public interest, they've published 11.

"It's been very successful," Carol Paul said. "It's a non-political way of letting people know about our family. It's all there in black and white."

The Paul family gathers for huge family dinners – Ron and Carol Paul have five children, 18 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren – as much as possible and the recipes are ones the family often eats together.

"[The cookbook] is just something to let the people know that we're real people just like they are and we have to cook every day," she said.

Carol Paul collects the recipes from her family and puts them together for each cookbook.

Ron and Carol Paul's sister-in-law has also been very involved with the family project.

"I love to cook and was delighted when [Carol] asked me to help," said Donna G. Paul, who lives in Avinger, Texas.

Donna G. Paul said she has submitted approximately 12 recipes over the years, three of which – Quick Company Carrots, Easy Carrot Cake, and Simple Salad — appear in the 2007-2008 edition of the Ron Paul Family Cookbook.

Donna G. Paul, who calls herself the "original Ron Paul groupie," met the physician in 1968 when he came to work at the practice where she was a nurse. Eventually, Donna G. Paul said, the current presidential candidate bought the practice.

"He got stuck with me as his nurse," the 67-year-old said. "I helped deliver lots of those 4,000 babies [that Ron Paul reportedly delivered]."

Donna G. Paul worked with Ron Paul for 12 years, she said, and during that time, she met his brother, Wayne Paul. The two were married in 1982.

Donna G. Paul said the Paul's are a "very close family" and relatives also help out Ron Paul on the campaign trail.

But family members aren't the only ones who submit recipes for the cookbooks.

"In 2007, I had a pacemaker put in [in Des Moines], and the nurse who took care of me sent a recipe," Carol Paul said. "People get interested in [the cookbooks.]"

Although the cookbook is a hit within the family, Democratic Party officials said they are skeptical about the campaign "gimmick."

"Is [a cookbook] going to sustain him once he gets into office?" said Terry Dahms, the chairman of the Johnson County Democrats.

Dahms said he is uncertain of the effectiveness of more personal campaign strategies and said he sees them as an act of desperation on behalf of the candidate.

"I think voters see through that," he said. "I think more people relate to a how a politician speaks and what he says and how he says it."


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