LE MARS, Iowa — In one last campaign swing through Northwest Iowa prior to caucuses Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul spoke to 250 people eager to applaud his positions on foreign policy and monetary matters.
Speaking Friday at the Le Mars Convention Center where extra chairs were pulled out to accommodate the growing crowd, the Texas congressman drew several people who caucused for him in 2008 and will again in 2012.
In the last weeks of 2011, Paul has been running at the top of Iowa polls with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He spoke about how his campaign challenges the status quo, proudly pointing to drawing the “disaffected,” independents and young people.
Paul said political observers are quick to dismiss his ability to win the Republican nomination. He added that it doesn’t take a majority to usher in change in American politics.
“It takes an irate, determined minority” who want to create political “brushfires,” he said, to considerable applause.
A questioner from the crowd wondered how Paul felt about the attacks that come from his call to pull back the number of troops overseas. Paul said too many foreign entanglements make nations want to respond with force back against the U.S.
“Non-intervention is better. It is not copping out,” he said.
Earlier in the meeting, Paul said pulling troops out of foreign countries would save $500 billion in a year, half of his goal of reducing federal spending by $1 trillion in a first year as president.
“The reason I talk so much about foreign policy is because it is the easiest place to cut spending,” Paul said.
Mary Albrecht, of Le Mars, was seeing her second candidate of the week, after hearing Newt Gingrich Wednesday. She went with Paul in 2008 and will caucus Tuesday, but hasn’t made a decision.
“I want someone who can beat (President Barack) Obama — it just comes down to that,” Albrecht said.
“I do like almost everything I hear (Paul) say, but I don’t know if he can get the traction to beat Obama.”
Jordon Cave, of Le Mars, caucused for Paul in 2008 and will again Tuesday. Cave cited how many people have clung with strong support to the sole Republican candidate with a libertarian bent.
“I am one of those lifers,” he said.
Cave said he likes Paul’s “message of liberty and limited government.”
“The fact that we have such a large federal government is a burden on the people,” Cave said.
Paul spoke similarly in his closing remark at the event.
“I think big government is dangerous. I think wars fought endlessly is dangerous,” he said.