IOWA CITY – U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is encouraged when he visits with young people.
“The future looks brighter when I visit with you,” he told a standing room only crowd at the University of Iowa Oct. 21.
Judging by the welcome he received, the feeling is mutual.
To see pictures of the event, click here.
The Texas Republican who is seeking his party’s nomination for president was greeted with cheers, chants and applause, and his 45-minute speech was interrupted several times by more of the same.
“I give speeches in Washington all the time and I don’t get any applause at all,” Paul joked before launching into a libertarian proposal for smaller government, a non-interventionist foreign policy and more personal responsibility.
“Liberty is my real issue,” he said, describing liberty in terms his mostly college-age audience understood.
Government, Paul said, shouldn’t regulate what you “eat, drink, smoke and put into your own body.” The government shouldn’t be able to draft people into the military to fight its wars, the former Air Force surgeon said.
With that liberty comes personal responsibility.
“You have to assume responsibility for bad choices you make,” he said. “You can’t go to your neighbor or the government to bail you out.”
It’s dangerous to assume the government can protect people from themselves while maintaining a free society, Paul added. Liberty doesn’t come from government, he said. The government should protect those liberties.
The Constitution is a good start, but it was written “not to restrict you, but to restrict the federal government,” Paul said.
His goal, Paul said, is to “get a whole generation energized about what true liberty is.”
Young voters are eager to embrace that, according to Ani DeGroot, Midwest regional director for Youth for Ron Paul.
“Youth have an inherent urge to change the world … a passion instilled in each of them to change the world,” said DeGroot, who is on a leave from UI while working for the Paul campaign. “We see the status quo and realize the problems and say ‘We must fix this now.’”
In Paul, young people see a candidate “who offers the change we wish to see,” DeGroot said.
As evidence, she pointed out that Paul “can turn out a crowd of 1,000 people on a Friday night in the middle of Homecoming Weekend.”
Paul is one of six GOP contenders who will speak at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition fall banquet beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Knapp Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
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