Posted in the Oakdale Forum
#1 Nov 19, 2011
ANAMOSA, Iowa (AP)— Texas Rep. Ron Paul is emerging as a significant factor in the Republican presidential race, especially in Iowa.
He's been long dismissed by the GOP establishment, but the libertarian-leaning candidate is now turning heads beyond his hard-core followers — and rising in some polls — just weeks before the state holds the leadoff presidential caucuses and four years since his failed 2008 bid.
The intense focus on Iowa this time may be working, with surveys showing Paul is reaching deeper into the caucus electorate.
A recent Bloomberg News poll showed him in close second place in Iowa, behind Herman Cain and narrowly ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The same poll showed more Iowa caucus-goers had been contacted by the Paul campaign than any of the other six GOP campaigns actively competing for the Jan. 3 caucuses.
Two weeks earlier, The Des Moines Register's poll showed Paul in solid third place, behind Cain and Romney.
And Paul seems to have been able to sustain his support after finishing a close second in the Iowa GOP's August straw poll, while straw poll winner Michele Bachmann, a Minnesota representative, has dipped in Iowa polls since.
But it's unclear whether Paul can cobble together broad enough support to win the caucuses with a plurality of the vote. At the very least, he will impact the results of the contest. But to what degree is anyone's guess.
The one thing that hasn't changed from four years ago is Paul's style.
He remains the mild-mannered, professorial former obstetrician, delivering long explanations of the history of U.S. monetary and trade policy.
In Anamosa, the audience of more than 130 at the small town's community center applauded when he said he would propose cutting $1 trillion from the federal deficit his first year in office, primarily by vastly reducing U.S. foreign aid.
But he also called for shrinking the military budget by reducing the U.S. military presence around the world, arguing that Congress and military contractors are too closely tied together.
"Yes, we have to have national security, but we don't get it by bankrupting our country and being in everyone's face constantly," Paul said.
The sentiment rings true with Charles Betz, a 47-year-old network engineer from nearby Tama, Iowa. He has typically been an independent voter, but is registered as a Republican so he can caucus for Paul on Jan. 3.
It's Paul's foreign and national security policy that has drawn fire from establishment Republicans. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who is competing with Paul in Iowa for the outsider vote, has been vocally critical of Paul's stance.
So has Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican who has been courted by most of the GOP candidates.
"I gave Paul credit for having the most ambitious plan to reduce the debt, which he does," Branstad told The Associated Press. "But I don't agree with him on foreign policy, at all. I'm real concerned with his views on that."
Paul's rivals have particularly criticized his view that Iran does not pose a serious threat to the U.S., a point Paul made again Friday.
"Think about how the war drums were beating to get into Iraq. None of it was true, and I don't believe the stories now about why we should be shaking in our boots over Iran," he said. "They are absolutely incapable of attacking us."
Paul was traveling from small-town Vinton to equally small Anamosa Friday, before capping the day with a major rally in metropolitan Cedar Rapids, where he was to be endorsed by the founder of the Cedar Rapids tea party.
His focus isn't limited to Iowa.
Paul will be in New Hampshire early next week, where he finished fifth four years ago.
This time, Paul's fiscally-conservative profile combined with his anti-interventionist foreign policy could help him do better.
Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Exeter, N.H., contributed to this report.
#2 Feb 20, 2012
He "distrusted the federal government because he knew it would grow too large, become disconnected from the people, and be heir to the arrogance, insolence and prideful haughtiness that is the lot of the unrestrained - Thomas Jefferson
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