Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul warned the U.S. is "slipping into a fascist system" dominated by government and businesses as he held a fiery rally Saturday night upstaging established Republican Party banquets a short distance away.
The Texas congressman drew a couple thousand standing and chanting people to Kansas City's Union Station as the party's establishment dined on steak across the street at the Missouri GOP's annual conference. Kansas Republicans were holding a similar convention in a suburb across the state line.
Paul staged his rally near the nation's World War I museum, asserting that the U.S. got off track about 100 years ago during the era of President Woodrow Wilson, who led the nation through World War I and unsuccessfully advocated for the nation's involvement in a forerunner of the United Nations.
"We've slipped away from a true Republic," Paul said. "Now we're slipping into a fascist system where it's a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen."
Although campaign aides were aware, Paul told reporters after his speech that he did not know his rally was coinciding with long-established Missouri and Kansas Republican Party events, where Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell _ a vice presidential prospect _ was the keynote speaker.
Several Republicans slipped away from the banquets to join the Paul rally. Among them was Ralph Munyan, a Republican committeeman in Kansas City's home county, who said he agreed with Paul's warnings of a "fascist system" and his pledge to the end nation's involvement in wars overseas and against drugs.
"His foreign policy is one of peace," Munyan said.
Paul repeatedly denounced President Barack Obama's recent enactment of a law requiring military custody of anyone suspected to be associated with al-Qaida and involved in planning an attack on the U.S. Obama said when he signed the legislation that his administration would not authorize the indefinite military detention of American citizens without a trial.