WASHINGTON -- "He's got to start winning some primaries."
Rand Paul's Yogi Berra-esque advice to his father, delivered in late January, was with the Ron Paul campaign as February became March and that victory remained elusive.
The libertarian-leaning congressman from Texas spoke this evening to supporters in North Dakota, a state, along with Alaska, he's been working hard to win.
Paul doubled down on his anti-war stance in his speech Tuesday night, spending the bulk of his time decrying the lost lives and public treasure spent on unconstitutional wars.
"Most of the candidates support the status quo," Paul said, summing up his reason to run.
Just as Paul told his gathered supporters that "momentum is building," Fox News demonstrated just the opposite, switching away from his speech to return to punditry. It was the first time the conservative network had cut Paul off.
Fox News' Shep Smith, looking directly into the camera and seemingly searching out Paul backers, tried to put it on the level. Ron Paul, he said, is not going to win, acknowledging that his assertion would surely infuriate Paul's passionate backers: "Facts are troublesome things from time to time," he said.
While Paul battled for Alaska and North Dakota, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum slugged it out county by county for the bellwether state of Ohio. Meanwhile, Paul struggled to win slightly more than 10 percent of the vote in exit polls -- a threshold where he's been stuck for years.
"I think he needs a breakthrough. He needs a victory," Rand Paul said during that same interview with The Atlantic's Molly Ball. Iowa was Paul's breakout moment, and it had already passed him by.
The night the votes came in, Paul's camp was cautiously optimistic, but he fell just short, pulling more than 21 percent. Romney and Santorum each polled around 24 and a half. But the neck-and-neck race -- Romney was declared the winner, only to be supplanted by Santorum later -- distracted from the virtual three-way tie. Paul languished out of the pole position from then on.
As Tuesday night wore on, the North Dakota caucus was called for Santorum. For Paul, that leaves Alaska.