News 12 at 11, January 17, 2008
AIKEN, S.C. -- It was a wide open invitation to all the Republican Candidates, but only a handful showed up at the USC Aiken Convocation Center; making it a night of the unknowns.
Of the ten candidates the Aiken County Republican Party advertised as coming, only three came; Cap Fendig, Dr. Hugh Cort, and Ron Paul. Big names in the race like Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson were nowhere to be found, making it the campaign rally that almost was.
Despite the hype, the USC Aiken Convocation Center was filled with very few voters, and even fewer presidential candidates.
Valerie Martin was less than pleased, after she made the trip to Aiken from Augusta after work. " I wanted to see candidates. I specifically came here to see the candidates. I wanted to know what their platforms were, I wanted to talk with them but I don't see any of them. I'm very disappointed."
Instead, it was the night for the underdogs.
"I'm running for President," exclaims Dr. Hugh Cort.
"I'm certainly the David in the land of Goliaths," adds Cap Fendig.
Well Fendig may not need to look much further for his Goliath moment, as most of the competition was reduced to pamphlets with pictures of the candidates.
"There is about 16 places you have to be at once and it's very hard to coordinate that." Terry Paul tries to explain. He was there to represent Duncan Hunter; a campaign without much star power. "Let's have a movie star get on the Duncan Hunter campaign!" Paul jokes. "That's not what we're about. We don't need Paris Hilton telling us what we ought to do when voting for President. It's much more serious than that."
There were plenty of reminders of what is at stake in this election; from your money, to the war in Iraq, international issues, to a reminder that the youth of America are who have the most on the line. That's why Laura Davis says she's made up her mind to vote for Ron Paul, because she's is also considering her two daughters. "What did it for me was when my 19 year old daughter who is a waitress got a check for 100 dollars and her tip and two dollar an hour wage were taxed to where she got a check for 16 dollars. She asked me why and I couldn't explain it."
For many, it's the economy stupid! Especially for Cap Fending is who says his campaign is all about fiscal responsibility. "Without money we can't have a federal government, we can't have a strong military, and we can't enforce immigration."
But, for Dr. Hugh Cort, the war on terror he says will be his biggest draw; if not in this election, then the next.
News 12: "Do you think you have a chance at becoming President?"
Cort: "I'm afraid to say this Lynnsey, but when these bombs go off and 10 American cities are destroyed by Osama Bin Laden's America-Hiroshima attack, people will say Dr. Hugh Colt tied to warn us; if we had just done what he had said, we may have prevented this. So, I may not get elected in this cycle, but I can guarantee you I'll be elected in 2012."
Ron Paul also made the trip to Aiken to speak at the event. News 12 was unable to speak with him because he was unable to get to the event early, and had to leave quickly to head to another campaign event.