TAMPA, Fla. -- Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whose refusal to exit the presidential race divided the Republican Party and raised tensions as recently as this week, was honored Wednesday by the party for his longtime commitment to libertarian principles that, through his persistence, helped shape the GOP platform and shade the party's convention.
A video tribute to Paul played on the second night of the Republican National Convention, depicting the longtime congressman as a trailblazer who stood against the expansion of government and the ballooning of the national debt long before it was a popular thing to do. In the short flick, Republican lawmakers, some of whom Paul has clashed with, praised him as prescient.
"The longer we go and the deeper in debt we get, the more apparent it is that Ron Paul was right all those years," says Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
Paul didn't get to address the convention that will ultimately nominate his primary foe, Mitt Romney. But Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, delivered a prime-time address in which he paid homage to his father and his libertarian ideals -- though he never mentioned him by name.
"My grandfather would live to see his children become doctors, ministers, accountants and professors," Rand Paul said. "He would even live to see one of his sons, a certain congressman from Texas, run for president of the United States of America."
The polite reception for the Pauls was in sharp contrast to the tense moments Tuesday when Ron Paul appeared on the convention floor, stirring the crowd before it was to nominate Romney and grabbing some of the attention that would otherwise have been paid to the party's nominee.
Later Tuesday, Rand Paul chastised the very same convention he addressed Wednesday night, saying it was a slap in his father's face when organizers refused to announce how many delegates his father had won during the primary.
Paul backers also bucked the party, booing a rules change that would allow the presidential nominee to strip voting powers from locally elected delegates for the sake of unity.
In addressing the convention Wednesday, however, Rand Paul fully endorsed Romney and aggressively assailed President Obama, saying the president didn't understand the nation's capitalist society.
"Anyone who so fundamentally misunderstands American greatness," he said, "is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation."
Like his father, though, Rand Paul also challenged his own party to make painful choices about its own "sacred cows."
"Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well spent," Paul said, to resounding cheers from anti-war Ron Paul supporters. "We must never, never trade our liberty for any fleeting promise of security."