Ron Paul finished just 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann in the Ames Straw Poll, but from the headlines and TV news coverage, it’s hard to tell he even showed up.
With the exception of The New York Times and The Des Moines Register, most major newspaper headlines didn’t even mention his name in their reports of Saturday’s contest. Nor was he anywhere to be found on the Sunday morning talk shows.
By Monday’s second-day stories, Paul had disappeared from the prevailing narrative of the Republican primary race altogether, as consensus coalesced around the dynamics between Bachmann, newcomer Rick Perry and front-runner Mitt Romney.
“We are certainly disappointed, and we think that people are missing a very big story here,” said Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager. “You look at ’07, and Mike Huckabee was able to turn what was a very weak second place — Mitt Romney had 4,516 votes and Huckabee had 2,587 — into a huge national story.”