Manchester, N.H. Suddenly, Ron Paul is in contention to win the Iowa caucuses and positioned to do well in the New Hampshire primary two weeks before the first votes are cast.
Paul's standing reflects the fluidity of the Republican race as well as the failure of the social conservative, tea party and establishment elements of the GOP to coalesce behind a candidate.
While the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman is earning support for tight-fisted fiscal positions, he's so out of step with the GOP mainstream on foreign policy issues that even his most loyal aides doubt he can use his momentum to win the Republican nomination.
Still, Paul's outsider persona and refusal to give in to the ways of Washington have earned him a loyal following that he's leveraged to build a strong organization.