GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul is due in this hotel conference room in a few minutes. In advance of his appearance, however, the chairman of Story County Republicans is announcing to the crowd that he’s endorsing Paul. Rep. Jason Schultz is also here to give a brief testimonial explaining why he’s endorsed Paul.
“The establishment political class has led our federal government to debase our currency…and most importantly, they have lost the trust and the faith of the American people,” Schultz said, before introducing Paul to the crowd.
Paul began by thanking the crowd for taking time to be in the room. “I see a group like this as being rather unique because sometimes we…get the idea that every single person is really inerested (in politics)…It isn’t quite the case,” Paul said. He suggested those who choose to participate in the Straw Poll next month will have an influence on the political process of something beyond even 1000-to-one, as Paul says the Straw Poll results can “make or break” campaigns. Of the Iowa Caucuses, Paul suggested the contest “gives an opportunity for everybody to have a chance.” Without mentioning Mitt Romney by name, Paul decried the “rich people (who) run for office”, who “every once in a while” win.
“Money just doesn’t buy everything,” Paul said. “…Ideas, issues and hard work are so important.”
AUDIO: Paul’s appearance in Ames. 50 min
Paul launched into his economic message. “There’s a lot of articial stuff going on about August 2,” Paul said, rejecting the idea it will be “the end of our country and the whole world” if there’s a default.
Paul continued a few minutes later: “There’s no way the checks aren’t going to go out for Social Security.” Paul said the real concern for the country is what the value of the dollar will be. He suggested the “gang of six” plan is trying to “fool” the American people by recalculating the cost of living.
Paul noted he’s been talking about these issues for decades. “This is an issue that I have thought about and dealt with…because when we lost our last link to gold, which restrains government, I knew at that time we would embark on big government spending.”
He said the “natural consequence” of having “no restraint on the printing press and governments” are “bubbles” and today, Paul says, there is a “bond bubble.”
“We are at the climatic point right now,” he said. “…This is a not a small recession You cannot solve this problem if you don’t understand how we got into this problem.”
He closed this section of his speech by calling for the phase out of The Federal Reserveand the crowd applauded.
Paul called Woodrow Wilson the “first neocon” because he ushered in the Federal REserve, the income tax, and U.S. intervention overseas, which Paul said “has just led to a disastrous 20th century.”
Paul asked this question: “How many wars are we actually in right now?” He got a few laughs from the crowd, then told them he was “old-fashioned in that I believe in the constitution” and that the U.S. should never go to war without a declaration of war. The crowd applauded.
Iraq is “not a safe place” according to Paul, who added, “Saddam Hussein was a monster, but compared to what?”
He got applause for a “bring the troops home” declaration. “What we’re doing is not accomplishing much at all but bankrupting our country,” Paul said of US military interventions in other countries.
He’s winding down the speech with his “liberty” message. “This is why we had a Revolution,” Paul said. “…It was to protect liberty…Today we’re being restrained by our government endlessly.” He dismissed the U.S. government, in general, as “the counterfeiters of the world.” Paul concluded with a discussion of the pro-life issue , calling it part of how “the big picture…comes together.” Paul got a standing ovation from the crowd at 9:56 a.m., and then he opened it up for questions from reporters.
In response to one question, Paul said: “I wish I could say I’m the frontrunner…and I hope to come in first (at the Straw Poll).”
Paul, in reply to another reporter, said his campaign benefits when compared to his rivals. “I see the other candidates all in one group who do not come out and explicitly say what we must do and the nature of what our problem actually is,” Paul said, to applause..
I asked whether he considers the rating agencies to be part of the “artificial” debt ceiling debate. “I wouldn’t say we have to do it because of Moody’s,” Paul said. ”…I think it is misleading…They have no credibility. If they couldn’t tell us there’s a housing bubble, how could they tell us there’s a crisis coming?…Let’s say that we can wave a wand so we can say we don’t have a debt limit….I think it would devastate the markets…You think they’re printing money now…I don’t think it’s very objective, these bond rating agencies.”
Drew Ivers, Paul’s Iowa campaign manager, closes with a speech about “taking action” and participating in the Straw Poll.