Ron Paul delegates set to strike deal with RNC

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By Mark Preston, CNN Political Director

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – A stand off between Ron Paul supporters and the Republican National Committee over convention delegates appears to be easing, and both sides are close to announcing a deal that could help avoid a potentially embarrassing moment for Mitt Romney on the day he receives the GOP presidential nomination.

The deal, which is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon, will seat more Paul delegates at next week’s Republican National Convention, an act that could help prevent an organized effort by Paul supporters to try and bring Monday’s opening session to a grinding halt.

“This is a major step towards peace and good will on the convention floor,” said a Paul source familiar with the negotiations. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been made public.

The RNC has agreed to seat 17 Ron Paul delegates from Louisiana, which has been a major point of contention (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/18/ron-paul-campaign-files-second-appeal-for-louisiana-delegates/) between the Paul campaign and the Romney campaign. In addition, the RNC will also seat additional Paul delegates from Massachusetts, ending the controversy in that state.

There are still ongoing discussions over disputed delegates from Maine, which is being negotiated by Paul advisors, RNC officials and senior Romney staff. But the compromise over Louisiana and Massachusetts was a major break through on this thorny issue less than a week before the Republican National Convention.

The good will between Paul and Romney was helped by the willingness of the Romney campaign to help integrate key policy issues into the Republican Party platform, which has been debated here in Tampa for the past two days. Discussions between Paul and Romney over the platform have been going on for months.

“We are extremely pleased with how this platform is going,” said the source close to Paul. “It is a very constitutionally conservative, little ‘l’ libertarian document. They have really gone out of their way to address issues that we care about, the tea party cares about and the independent minded folks coming into the party the party care about.”

Specifically, the Paul campaign was pleased with the tough language in the platform regarding the Federal Reserve and a willingness to at least allow a public discussion on other issues even if they were not adopted.

In another olive branch to Paul and his supporters, the Romney campaign has asked his son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, to speak in prime time Monday night at the convention.

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