Ron Paul Lags in Polls, but He Has a Private Jet

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SPENCER, Iowa - Ron Paul has turned jet-setter.

On what was planned as a three-stop tour of Iowa Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate who has made fiscal conservatism his hallmark missed his first event because of problems with his private leased jet. According to an aide, the Texas congressman had to commandeer a new jet and pilot to continue on.

Paul, whose "money-bomb" donation drives and devoted followers have made him the third-most successful fundraiser in the presidential field (behind President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney) as of June 30, even though he lags in the polls, addressed the audience at his first event, in Council Bluffs, by phone.

Arriving here, for his final event of the day, he hosted a town-hall meeting for about 150 supporters in a packed room plastered with Ron Paul posters. Paul professed to be delighted that Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico who shares Paul's libertarian views, made the cut for Thursday night's Republican presidential candidates' debate in Orlando. "Oh I think it's great," Paul said.

After a few questions, however, an aide intervened. It was time for Air Paul to head back to Washington, D.C. , where he's scheduled to be the featured attraction at a Wednesday morning press breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor and where, the aide promised, the congressman would get to work solving some of the problems he had discussed on the presidential campaign trail.

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Rodney Hawkins covers the 2012 presidential race for CBS News and National Journal.

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