DAVENPORT — In front of a crowd in Davenport that cheered him repeatedly, Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul suggested Monday the groundswell of support for his campaign will send a message far beyond Iowa’s borders.
Melding his usual calls for a dramatically smaller government and bringing American troops home, Paul told about 400 people at the SteepleGate Inn in Davenport that his crowds are growing and so is his message.
“Tomorrow, we may well send a message that is going to be heard not just throughout Iowa but throughout this country, and believe it or not, it could be heard throughout the world,” he said, just as the audience broke into chants of “Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul.”
Paul, like the other GOP candidates, was dashing across the state on the last full day of campaigning before Tuesday’s caucuses in an effort to see as many voters as possible. He was traveling with his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Referring to a litany of international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, Ron Paul preached a pullback from overseas relationships.
“We shouldn’t be selling out to the WTF, the IMF, the World Bank and to the United Nations. It should be the United States of America,” he said.
He also complained about the post-9/11 Patriot Act, which he said basically “repealed” the Constitution’s 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Its enactment stemmed from fear tactics that also were used to build support for the war in Iraq and the federal bailouts, he said.
A congressman from Texas, Paul has been drawing large crowds. Polls show him and Mitt Romney leading the GOP field, and Paul is credited with having a strong organization in the state. Many of those young organizers lined the walls at the SteepleGate Inn, and there were several cars with out-of-state license plates in the parking lot.
Still, the enthusiasm for him was at volumes far higher than other candidates in their recent visits. When Paul was leaving, several shouted thank-yous to him.
Before the speech, Dave Irelan of Davenport said he’s going to go to the caucuses and will support Paul.
“I think the federal government should go back to the way it was supposed to be, the way it was intended to be,” he said. “More and more people want change. More and more people are fed up.”
In addition to Paul, Romney also campaigned in Davenport on Monday. He started the day with a rally at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.
This afternoon, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will visit his local campaign headquarters, where he will hold a telephone town hall meeting. He’s also slated to be at the Hotel Blackhawk at 8 p.m.