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Iowa State Daily

‘Free Drinks and Free Speech’: Ramaswamy visits Campustown bar

Republican+presidential+candidate+Vivek+Ramaswamy+speaks+at+his+%E2%80%9CFree+Speech+%26+Free+Drinks%E2%80%9D+event+on+Friday%2C+Oct.+27%2C+2023%2C+at+the+BNC+FieldHouse+-+Bar+%26+Grill+in+Ames%2C+Iowa.
Daniel Jacobi II
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at his “Free Speech & Free Drinks” event on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at the BNC FieldHouse – Bar & Grill in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State students and community members alike gathered on Friday night at a Campustown bar to hear from Republican presidential candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy as he hosted a “Free Speech and Free Drinks” event.

The bar portion of BNC Fieldhouse – Bar and Grill was open for drinks paid for by Ramaswamy’s campaign from 8-9 p.m. while Ramaswamy spoke and mingled with patrons, some in costume for Halloween weekend.

Ramaswamy spoke about his future priorities if elected as president and answered questions from people in the crowd. Many asked about how to revive the country and reunite it.

“Corruption is the defining problem in our politics […] end the super PACs,” Ramaswamy said.

College affordability was brought up by students at the event. Ramaswamy was asked how to make tuition costs more affordable.

“Shut down the Department of Education, give the $80 billion back to parents and students directly,” Ramaswamy said. “Administrators, way too many of them, have driven up the cost of college.”

Ryan Renger, a sophomore in political science, said he was at the event to hear from Ramaswamy in person and not just from what the media portrays about him.

“I think he has a lot of great points, but there are also a lot of major flaws in his political theory,” Renger said. “I feel like he has not gotten as much media attention as other candidates, so I feel like it will be fun to hear more from him.”

The event was hosted as a part of Ramaswamy’s voter contact events. He plans to tour many spots in Iowa over the coming weeks. The full event list can be found here.

“It is always wonderful when politicians come to Ames and talk to students. Iowa being the first caucus state makes events like this happen,” Madeline Becker, graduate student in economics, said

Handouts were passed around to some of the event attendees claiming Ramaswamy’s four steps for “America First 2.0”:

  1. Shut down the administrative deep state.
  2. Declare independence from communist China.
  3. Unleash the American economy: achieve >5% GDP growth.
  4. Revive American national identity.

“Iowa picks the president of the United States […] it will be young people that bring this country back,” Ramaswamy said to loud cheers from the crowd.

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