On his first visit to Charleston, Republican presidential candidate/longshot Ron Paul appeared at a surprisingly well-attended rally at the Omar Shrine Auditorium near Patriots Point. Tables in the lobby were filled with pamphlets, bumper stickers, pins, yard signs, and stacks of literature emphasizing his positions on government spending, borders, welfare, gun laws, and socialized medicine. City Paper's own Jack Hunter (a.k.a. "The Southern Avenger") introduced Paul with a rousing speech ("Ron Paul is the only sane man in the race," he concluded). Paul was upbeat, gracious, and emphatic. (The best quote of the night: "You can't solve the problems if you don't admit the truth.") The crowd was weird. Really weird. Elderly local Republicans, blue-collar working couples, golfers, grad students in suits, shabby college drop-outs, hippies with long hair, punks with shaved heads, staffers from A.C.'s Bar & Grill ... a truly strange melting pot of politically activated Charlestonians.