With some built-in support already in Iowa, Paul tries to broaden connections in lead up to 2016

05/14/2013 07:27 AM

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — Campaign here early and often.

That was the message over the weekend from Iowa Republicans to Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul — and any other prospective presidential candidate who was listening.

The message from Paul to Iowa Republicans was, for the most part, that the Republican Party needs to broaden its base and that President Barack Obama’s administration screwed up U.S. health care policy and security in Benghazi.

Paul has said he’s considering making a presidential bid but won’t decide before 2014. His father, former presidential candidate Ron Paul, still has a substantial support network left in Iowa.

Here’s a recap of Paul’s first major public foray into the 2016 presidential test waters as he spoke at Friday’s statewide Iowa Lincoln Day Dinner and met with Iowa Republican voters, who are used to meeting presidential contenders in person.

On Saturday morning, Paul addressed about 65 Republicans in North Liberty in Johnson County.

Johnson County, which includes Iowa City and the University of Iowa, has more than twice the number of registered Democrats as Republicans. And it was one of the first strongholds to go for Barack Obama in the 2008 caucuses over Hillary Clinton.

Paul shook hands before speaking at the breakfast, then took four questions from the audience. It’s a routine he will have to get used to over the next three years if he, indeed, decides to run for president.

Here’s what he told Pure Politics about the prospect of keeping up that schedule and pace for the next three years:


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