GOP contender Ron Paul visits Vancouver, WA - KPTV - FOX 12

GOP contender Ron Paul visits Vancouver, WA

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VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV/AP) -

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul plans to hit three Washington state cities in a two-day campaign visit this week.

A rally in Vancouver Thursday afternoon at the Hilton Vancouver drew more than 1,000 supporters.  The ballroom filled to capacity, so an overflow room had to be opened.

Paul, a libertarian 12-term Congressman from Texas, spoke on topics ranging from war to the financial crisis. 

"Our liberties are being threatened," he told supporters.

Paul also held a King County rally Thursday evening at a Seatac airport hotel and a Friday town hall meeting for Tri-Cities residents in Richland.

He's made several campaign stops across the Northwest ahead of the March 3rd caucuses.  Following his rally in Vancouver, reporters asked Rep. Paul whether he had a chance of winning Washington state.

"We have to translate the enthusiasm we had here today into getting real votes," said Paul.  "That is the challenge, but there's more and more (support) every single day."

Paul is running against Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for the GOP presidential nomination.

On Sunday, he said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that there's virtually no difference among his rivals. He says all three represent "the same status quo."

Santorum is exploring Secret Service protection after a rowdy Monday night rally in Tacoma, Wash.

Santorum hosted an outdoor rally adjacent to the campsite of Tacoma, Wash., Occupy protesters. They chanted and yelled during most of the event. Two protesters were dragged away by police.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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