By Amanda Terkel
TAMPA, Fla. — One of the few off-script moments of the Republican National Convention came on Tuesday when supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) loudly protested new party rules by booing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and rushing the hallways to voice their dissent. It was a discordant moment at an event meant to display party unity around GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Republican officials are insisting they’re unfazed by the protest and that they aren’t worried about the effect it could have on the November election. Convention-goers, however, aren’t so sure.
Speaking with The Huffington Post on Wednesday after a luncheon on job creation, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) dismissed the notion that there was division in the Republican Party.
“Listen, if there was a divided Republican Party, you would know it. A few people squawking in the back does not cause division,” he said, adding that it was all just “noise.”
When asked whether he believed Paul’s backers would come around and eventually vote for Romney in November, Kasich replied, “I can’t predict how people are going to vote, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
Paul’s supporters are upset over new RNC rules that dictate how delegates are chosen and apportioned. Under the new rules, convention delegates would be bound to vote for the candidate who won statewide at the ballot box, essentially barring the sort of insurgent takeover that Paul supporters tried to pull off in 2012.
Paul backers aren’t the only ones concerned about the new rules and the effect it could have on grassroots activism. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page recently that it was “a direct attack on grassroots activists by the GOP establishment.”
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