DES MOINES – The revolution is “is alive and well and growing,” especially in Iowa, where U.S. Rep. Ron Paul hopes to send a message.
The Iowa GOP Straw Poll in Ames Aug. 13 will be that platform for that message, the Texas congressman told about 150 people in Des Moines June 27.
“We’re in Iowa for a very precise reason,” said Paul, who joked he visited so often just to meet everyone. “Iowa is a bellwether. It can send signals. That’s what we’re really looking for – a signal.”
And the Ames straw poll will send a “very, very important message,” he predicted. Paul’s campaign just spent $31,000 to claim the top spot outside the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University where the straw poll will be held. Paul outbid rivals for the prime real estate.
Despite the enthusiasm of his supporters, Paul has his work cut out for him. He received the support of just 7 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers in a new Iowa Poll.
The enthusiasm is growing, said Lexy Nuzum of Winterset, who heard about Paul four years ago, but didn’t become involved in his 2008 presidential bid. Now she’s co-chairwoman of Paul’s Madison County committee.
Like several others, Nuzum’s chief concern is the United States’ involvement overseas.
“It seems like we’ve been at war as a long as I can remember,” she said, and I’m 25.”
Luke Shelton of Des Moines also is concerned about monetary policy – chiefly the devaluation of money because the Federal Reserve System keeps printing money, he said.
However, he thinks the military has been “spread too thin overseas.”
Mike Fortune of West Des Moines agreed with Paul that rather than spend U.S. tax dollars on nation-building in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, the money should be spent on nation-building at home.
“We’re propping up Third World nations while our infrastructure is being destroyed,” Fortune said.
Some of the loudest applause came when Paul responded to an Iraq war veteran who asked about his timetable from bringing home the troops.
“As soon as the ships can pick you up,” Paul said.
In addition to bringing home troops, returning to the gold standard and expanding personal liberty, Paul called for addressing border security.
He would make immigration legal, but thinks the federal government should spend more time worrying about the U.S.-Mexico border than the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Paul, who has made more than a dozen trips to Iowa this election cycle, promised to be back in Iowa often.
He wasn’t the only presidential hopeful in the state. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was in western Iowa.
Also Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan was scheduled to appear at the Ottumwa stop of the Iowa Tea Party bus tour. He visited the Capitol, escorted by former Iowa House Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City.