Rand Paul completes college tour in Iowa


Thomas Nelson/Iowa State Daily

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul takes a photo with a student during an event at Drake University in Des Moines Wednesday.

Thomas Nelson

Presidential candidates have become a common sight in Iowa, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is no exception.

Paul finished a three-day tour of Iowa colleges Wednesday at Drake University in Des Moines. He emphasized foreign policy and how students would be paying the price for any future wars that the United States partakes in overseas.

“How many of you are registered for the draft?” Paul asked and continued speaking about how women may have to register for the draft. “They want you to admit your submission, admit that you will go when and wherever they tell you.”

Paul brought up the no-fly zone in Syria and criticized Carly Fiorina and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about being in favor of the policy.

“That’s a recipe for disaster,” Paul said in regard to not negotiating.

He generalized the subject to the issue of war. 

“War should be the last resort, not the first,” Paul said. “When war comes, you’ll be the generation that fights it.”

Paul then moved on to the issue of Iran and even questioned if eliminating Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do.

“Are we better off because Saddam Hussein’s gone?” Paul asked.

Iran has gained more power after Iraq was invaded and Saddam Hussein was taken out of power, Paul said.

Continuing on the issue of unrest in the Middle East, Paul said ISIS is using the United States’ weapons against us.

“When we’ve been involved in the Middle East it’s often backfired,” Paul said.“The Arab spring turned into the Arab winter, [and] in the Arab winter, we got chaos.”

Paul then moved on to talk about issues regarding Syria and the Christian Exodus. 

“There are more Christians in Syria than other places in the Middle East, other than Egypt,” Paul said. We need to be more diplomatically engaged in the Middle East and work with leaders and send fewer American men and women there to fight.

Paul continued on the topic, expanding the issue to the Middle East as a whole, adding that it may be time for America to take a step back.

“The Iranians are killing Al-Qaeda. Maybe we should buy popcorn … sometimes we shouldn’t be involved,” Paul said.

The topic then turned to economic stability, and Paul said he blames both parties.

“In Washington, we have too much holding hands,” Paul said in regard to the U.S. economy. “It’s both parties’ fault.”

Paul also questioned the power of the government, debating the issue of whether people are able to “purchase” the government. 

“The more powerful government gets, the more likely people are to try to purchase the influence of government,” Paul said. “We have to decide whether our freedom is precious enough to defend.”

While answering questions, Paul attempted to diffuse a question in regard to the rights of LGBTQ in the work place.

“I think really the things you do in your house, if we could just leave those in your house and they wouldn’t have to be part of the work place,” Paul said.

In a crowded field, Paul appears to have difficulty setting himself apart from the other candidates, said Ryan Wiskerchen, junior double majoring in international relations and history at Drake University.

“I like that he’s catering to the young vote,” said Ruth Lapointe, a Des Moines local. “He doesn’t seem to put the economy and tax structure at the forefront.”

Hope Waggoner, senior in advertising and public relations at Drake University, said Paul needs to be more direct when answering questions and show more of a human side in order to go further in the polls.

“He needs to get himself out there more and be more personable” Waggoner said.