Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is making a strong, personal pitch to supporters about the upcoming Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll.

Paul drew more than 100 people to an event in Iowa City this morning, where he mentioned his fifth-place finish in the 2007 Straw Poll.

“You know for not having done a whole lot (of campaigning before the 2007 event) or understanding the process, it wasn’t terribly, terribly bad, but it wasn’t anything to brag about,” Paul said.

Paul has much higher hopes for this year’s Straw Poll.  

“Fourth or fifth place or worse wouldn’t be anything to brag about either. It would be a real negative, so we’re bound and determined to do better than that and we’re feeling pretty good about it, but if we’re in fourth or fifth or lower down, I’m not going to be all that excited. I’m going to be rather saddened,” Paul said, laughing along with the crowd in Iowa City. “I hope you don’t let me go from Ames being sad this year.”

Paul pointed to the Straw Poll as a sort of “bellwether” event that will send a “powerful message” about what voters are thinking in 2011.

“It represents the people who are motivated more than what you find in a General Election, so to me it’s very important,” Paul said in Iowa City.

Paul also made a stop in Davenport over the noon-hour, speaking to more than 200 people there.