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Ron Paul Predicts ‘Top Tier’ Finish in South Carolina

Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- A confident Ron Paul Wednesday predicted a “top tier" finish in the South Carolina primary.

Fresh off his strong second-place showing in the New Hampshire primary, Paul said his campaign is “gathering momentum,” adding he sent a positive message out of Iowa and New Hampshire and he hopes to do the same in South Carolina Jan. 21.

The Texas congressman told a crowd of more than 200 people in an aviation hangar near the Columbia Metropolitan Airport that his support was expanding beyond “a tireless irate minority.”

“The numbers are growing. They grew exponentially in New Hampshire and they’re going to grow continuously in South Carolina as well,” said Paul.

Although the congressman promised to be “very, very, busy” before the Jan. 21 primary, he headed home to Texas for another multi-day break from campaigning.

It’s going to be a tough battle for the libertarian-leaning congressman, whose foreign policy views and anti-war positions might be expected to hurt him in a state with large military institutions and a heavy defense industry.

Paul took issue with that characterization, stating he receives more money from active military than all the other candidates combined.

“They are not going to believe the rumors that I don’t care about national defense because they know that I support the military and the military supports me wholeheartedly,” said Paul.

Paul has launched an aggressive TV ad campaign in the state aimed mainly at Rick Santorum. The ads state the former Pennsylvania senator has “a record of betrayal,” accusing him of collaborating with union leaders and being one of the “most corrupt” members of Congress.

When asked if Republican voters might he turned off by the negative tone of the ads, Paul replied, ”I didn’t know there was one.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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