ONLINE EXCLUSIVE STORY BY JAKE BULLINGTON
Republican Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul made a stop at Drake University Wednesday afternoon, as a part of his ‘Iowa 10,000’ campaign tour.
A large crowd of about 200 Drake students and Paul supporters filled Pomerantz Stage and lined up for a photo with the Senator.
Drake University’s student group advocating for Paul, Students for Rand, showed their support at the event with signs and t-shirts, and the group’s President, Callista Coulter introduced Paul to the group, asking “Who’s ready to hear from the next President of the United States?”
Walking on stage to chants of “President Paul! President Paul!”, Paul cut to the chase, jumping straight into the issue of United States’ foreign policy.
“Virtually every other presidential candidate is saying ‘We must have a no-fly zone. We must tell Russia they cannot fly over Syria or Iraq.’ What do you think that means?”, Paul asked.
“It means we are going to shoot down Russian fighters,” Paul said. “We spent 70 years trying to avoid confrontation with Russia, trying to avoid confrontation with a superpower that has nuclear weapons.”
Paul called out several of his opponents by name on this issue, including Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton.
“We have people on the Republican stage that are saying, ‘We should not talk to Putin.’ Well, that’s a recipe for disaster,” Paul said.
Paul touched on how he believes that the eagerness to go to war from his opponents is contrary to his belief, and how it will have an effect on students.
“War should be the last resort, not the first resort,” Paul said. “When war comes, you’ll be the generation that fights it.”
Paul took a narrative of splitting from decisions made by both the Bush and Obama administrations to continue the wars and U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
“You have a choice in who your leaders will be,” Paul said. “You must look and say, ‘Has it been a good thing, our involvement in the Middle East?'”
Senator Paul, along with the United States’ engagement in the region, gave his opinion on personal liberties.
Marijuana legalization, the 2nd Amendment, government spying programs and the Selective Service all came up in the stump speech.
“I think we need a government that doesn’t look at your phone records, and a government that doesn’t put you in jail for non-violent things like marijuana, and a government that doesn’t send you to war that doesn’t seem to have a purpose,” said Paul.
“You hear other republicans talking about the Second Amendment, I defend it as well. Don’t come into my house unannounced, or you’ll discover I do,” Paul joked.
The entire speech lasted just under 30 minutes, including three questions from the audience.