In a big turnaround from Ron Paul's first debate in South Carolina, where the Texas congressman was booed by the audience for advocating the golden rule of statesmanship, last night's audience took to Paul's defense when moderator John King tried to switch the topic away from abortion without letting Paul answer the question.
'John, I'm a doctor!'
In the closing minutes of the CNN debate, the conversation turned to the subject of abortion.
Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were all given a chance to defend their pro-life stance, and began to bicker amongst each other about which position was the strongest and the most sincere.
But when it came time for Rep. Paul to speak, which the Texas congressman very obviously wanted to do, moderator John King attempted to move on to another topic.
All right, let's take another question, King said. Let's take a question now from social media...
The audience at the second debate was having none of it.
After Paul's appearance in the Fox News debate earlier, when the congressman repeatedly went over time, CNN seemed determined to go to the other extreme, continually refusing to give the GOP candidate a chance to answer.
But when King passed over Paul, an obstetrician, in a question about abortion, the debate crowd had had enough. The audience began booing and jeering. Ron Paul! several people shouted.
You want in on this issue? King asked the Texas representative.
John, once again, it's a medical subject, [and] I'm a doctor! Paul responded. The audience cheered.
Ron Paul Booed Over 'Golden Rule'
The South Carolina audience's move to rally around Paul is in stark contrast to their rather cool reception to him during the first debate earlier this week.
Paul, whose answers triggered the most negative reactions of almost any of the candidates on the stage, was booed when he advocated the golden rule in foreign policy, arguing that U.S. citizens should be honest about citizens would react if another country does to us what we do to others.
We endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us, he said.
Some of those booes had turned into cheers by the end of Paul's speech. But one of the only times the audience was truly behind the Republican congressman was when Paul challenged Mitt Romney on the National Defense Authorization Act.
Paul has since responded to those who booed by telling ABC that America needs to get rid of the idea that only it can be a perfect country.
He said it was hard for him to understand how the idea of equality and fairness would cause people to react so negatively.
'Law will not correct the basic problem.'
Compare that to last night, when the South Carolina debate audience listened respectfully to Paul's views on abortion and on the relationship between morality and the law in America.
I can remember the very early years studying obstetrics and I was told, [and] it was before the age of abortion, I was told taking care of a woman that's pregnant, you have two patients, Paul said. I think that solves a lot of the problem about, you know, when life begins and all.
Ron Paul also reflected on the time when he was training, during the Vietnam War and the growth of the drug and free love culture.
Pornography came in, and abortion became prevalent even though it was illegal, Paul said.
The morality of the country changed. The law followed up, he finished, going on to say that the national mood of a country (or, more specifically, its morality) was what affects legislation, not the other way around.
The law's very important. We should have these laws, he said, but added: Law will not correct the basic problem. That's the morality of the people.
Below, watch the tail end of the audience's reaction to John King, and listen to Ron Paul's response to the abortion question.