Written by Jennifer Jacobs
Dubuque, Ia. – It might be harder for Ron Paul to beat his fellow Republicans for the opportunity to face Barack Obama than to defeat the president himself, the Texas Republican said Monday.
Paul visited Dubuque for the first time ever for a lunch-hour speech about how government whistleblowers should be better protected, how gold and silver should be allowed as everyday currency and how the government has “no right to snoop on you.”
At the Stone Cliff Winery in the riverfront area, Paul drew whistles and hearty applause from a crowd of about 160, a more robust crowd than expected for a weekday, his staff said.
Shortly after 1 p.m., Paul climbed aboard a private jet for the trip to New Hampshire for a much-anticipated debate against six other Republican presidential contenders.
Paul, a U.S. representative from Texas, said he thinks he could beat Obama with the help of independents who embrace his message of limited government, protection of civil liberties, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’m probably in a better position than the rest because my strength is with independents,” he told The Des Moines Register during his car ride to the airport.
He added: “It’s a tougher job in the Republican primary.”
Paul duked it out Monday night with those competitors: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
“But the independents are very supportive. Some of them are coming over and voting in the Republican primary,” Paul said. “Matter of fact, several of them told me today, they say, ‘I’ve never worked with the Republican Party, but I’ll be there this year for you.’ “
Paul said he is especially attractive to independents “since Obama’s not trusted on the economy. And actually the progressives are very annoyed with him, too, because he was really supposed to wind those wars down.”
As he looked out the window at the hills of Dubuque, he said he was thinking about what he would say in Monday night’s debate.
“Not nervous exactly. It’s something you anticipate. You want to outguess them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Johnson, a member of the Iowa‘s Republican State Central Committee, and Jeff Leucke, an organizer of the Dubuque tea party, endorsed Paul for the Republican nomination Monday.