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Most money from Joes goes to Ron Paul

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As someone who has served his country, Air Force veteran and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has some very straightforward views on the United States' involvement in the Global War on Terror.

He believes hundreds of thousands of U.S. Servicemembers have been stretched thin all across the globe in more than 135 countries - often without a clear mission, any sense of what defines victory, or the knowledge of when they'll be permanently reunited with their families.

He believes acting as the world's policeman and nation-building weakens the U.S., puts our troops in harm's way, and sends precious resources to other nations in the midst of a historic economic crisis.

And the Texas congressman also believes the U.S. should end nation-building, which is draining troop morale, increasing debt and sacrificing lives with no end in sight.

Those views are striking a chord with military members across the nation.

"He's a straight shooter and he speaks from the heart," said Air Force Master Sgt. Bill Baker, a first sergeant stationed at McChord Field. "He's not about slandering other candidates. All he does is talk about the issues."

But Servicemembers aren't only saying they believe in Paul, they are also putting their money where their mouth is.

Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Paul has raised more than any other current presidential candidate in donations from members of the military. Of those donors who indicated their occupation and employer, Paul topped the other contenders, a distinction he also achieved during his 2008 presidential run, according to USA Today.

Paul's campaign told Politifact, the fact-checking project of the St. Petersburg Times, that he raised $34,480 from people in the military, compared with $19,849 for President Barack Obama and $13,848 for the other GOP presidential candidates.

"Our fighting men and women take an oath to protect America, defend our Constitution and defend our borders," said Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign manager. "They look at Ron Paul and see a leader who takes their oath seriously, and who will fight to ensure that we don't misrepresent that oath by sending them off to police the world, instead of defending our country."

Army Sgt. Ryan Treat, a 10-year veteran stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga., spoke of his support for Paul in a video shot for Ron Paul Flix, a website that calls itself "the most comprehensive online video archive on Ron Paul."

He especially likes Paul's views on anti interventionism.

"I don't like the extended wars we've been fighting in the Middle East," Treat said. "The Soldiers are dying for what I don't think is a noble cause."

There is no way to know for sure whether the campaign donors who list the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and National Guard as their employer back Paul because of his stance on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars or for his libertarian views on the economy and fiscal policy. But the numbers don't lie when it comes to the support angle.

The Center for Responsive Politics says $11,350 of Paul's military donations came from people who work for the Army. In the 2008 campaign, the center found that individuals employed by the Army, Navy and Air Force were Paul's top three sources of campaign donations, USA Today reported.

While that number might have to do because of his stance on the issues, it could also be because Servicemembers like his role as a bit of an underdog.

"He's got a good grass-roots following," said Baker, who "liked" Ron Paul's campaign Facebook page. "He's not huge by any means. Will he win the election? No. But if you're able to contribute, you're going to do it for someone you believe in."

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