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It was a different story in the crowded hallways outside the main ballroom, where a younger generation of libertarian-minded Republicans said the GOP should focus on the economy and avoid the culture wars of the past.
"The social issues should be kept to the states, and even at the state level it shouldn’t be a big focus," said Kyle Brooks, an 18-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and secretary of College Republicans there.
Paul was a favorite of such voters, many of whom had backed his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian.
"I don’t think the government should be involved in dictating how we live our lives," said Chris Anders, the 42-year-old West Virginia state coordinator for Campaign for Liberty, a political group formed from the ashes of Ron Paul’s past presidential campaigns.
Across the river in Washington, Democrats were paying close attention.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said that "conservatives are doubling down on the same divisive social issues that alienated voters year after year."
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