MARSHALLTOWN – An early Saturday morning political event on an unusually warm February day might not be the ideal conditions to draw a good crowd. However, 140 Marshall County Republicans packed into the Legends American Grill in Marshalltown to hear their new representative in Congress, Rod Blum, and likely presidential candidate Rand Paul.
Most of Rod Blum’s brief remarks focused on his tangle with President Obama’s budget director, Shaun Donovan, last week on Capitol Hill. Iowa’s new First District representative also relayed his controversial first vote in Congress, supporting Daniel Webster over John Boehner for House speaker. Many in the room applauded when Blum mentioned that vote.
“It was not easy to do. There was a tremendous amount of pressure to keep the status quo in Washington and in fact, my friends, I did not sleep the night before. I could not sleep. I was tossing and turning thinking about that vote,” Blum recalled.
Adding that Speaker Boehner is a “good man” with “a tough job”, Blum said he vote was not against John Boehner as much as it was fulfilling a campaign promise to change the status quo in Washington.
Although Blum and Rand Paul are allied with the liberty wing of the Iowa GOP and the new congressman heaped praise on Paul for trying to bring new voters into the party, Rod Blum does not plan to endorse Paul or anyone else in the Iowa Caucuses.
“No, I don’t plan to endorse anyone,” Blum told this writer during an interview on WHO Radio Friday. “I might at the very end. We need a strong leader. We need genuine, authentic leadership and I may rise or fall in my election in two years based on who this presidential candidate is.”
Rand Paul was received warmly by the Marshalltown the crowd. His speech was filled with much of Paul’s usual stump speech material. The Kentucky senator provided anecdotal examples of Congress wasting millions in taxpayer money on frivolous things like studying whether or not male fruit flies are attracted to younger female fruit flies.
He railed against Obamacare and the mountain of regulations embedded in that bill, Dodd-Frank and others signed and promoted by President Obama.
“I have another very radical proposal. You won’t tell anybody how radical it is. They should real the bills before they pass them,” Paul said as the audience applauded loudly. “I have a bill that says they have to wait 20 days for every page. So, a couple hundred days, it might keep them busy for awhile.”
When Senator Paul veered into foreign policy, his words raised a few eyebrows. Amid new allegations from the man known as the 20th 9/11 hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, that high-ranking Saudis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, Senator Paul bolstered those claims.
“Do you know that the missing pages of the 9/11 report that are not allowed to be made public, I can tell you what I think is in them because I haven’t read them. They’re still top secret. There are links of the attackers on 9/11 to high people in the Saudi Arabian government and wealthy people in the Saudi Arabian society,” Paul claimed.
“They’ve been financing radical Islam for 30, 40, 50 years. If they’re an ally, they need to be told no more,” the Kentucky senator added, saying the Saudis need to help in the fight against ISIS.
Rand Paul’s final comments to the Marshalltown crowd were even more provocative.
“This country is the greatest country ever. We just need to unleash the American public, unleash the ingenuity. When that happens again, I say Katie bar the door, I say America will be the greatest country on the Earth again. Thank you very much,” Paul concluded, without telling the crowd which country is the greatest on Earth right now.
The crowd applauded Paul’s speech and the majority of it was well received.
“He’s a good man. Whether or not I agree with him all the time, he says what he believes and they all need to do that,” said Marshalltown native Michelle Haugle.
“I like Rand and I liked his father, too,” said Bill Walters, Haugle’s father.
Marshall County GOP Chairman Pete Rogers was especially pleased with the size of the crowd.
“The turnout was tremendous,” said Marshall County GOP Chairman Pete Rogers. “As an organizer in the county, it’s really important for me to show these national level candidates that it’s worth their time to come and have these opportunities and I think this did nothing to dissuade that, so I’m hopeful that the senator will say that it was well worth his time so it’ll be easier to get others here.”
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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