Sen. Rand Paul is in Iowa this weekend, courting potential voters as the Kentucky Republican weighs a bid for the White House in 2016, hoping his low-key style sets him apart from a potentially crowded field of candidates.
"Just look at who's here," David Fischer, a former Iowa Republican Party official, told The Washington Post
on Friday. He surveyed the crowd at an event for Paul at a Des Moines winery. "He is actually bringing women, college students and people who are not white into the Republican Party."
But will this translate into broader success for Paul, whose father, Ron Paul, finished third in the Iowa caucuses during his 2012 run for the White House. The younger Paul was in the state seeking to build on his father's base.
"The son is a little more mainstream," former Republican Rep. Jim Leach, who represented the state for 15 terms, told the Post. "If he can stay there and play into the desire on the conservative side for someone new, he could find an opening."
Citing a poll of Iowa Republicans by Bloomberg Politics and the Des Moines Register, the Post reports that Paul placed second among possible candidates.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the leader, with 15 percent, with Paul right behind at 14 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee follows at 10 percent.
In his stump speech at the winery, Paul attacked one of his father's longtime targets, the Federal Reserve. Last month, he introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act.
"Anybody here want to audit the Fed?" Paul asked, the Post reports. "Anybody feel that the Fed is out to get us? They're all over the TV! They're going to be out there saying, 'Oh, we can't audit the Fed.' What, are they too big to be audited? Too secret to be audited?"
He also slammed the National Security Agency and its broad surveillance programs. "It's none of their damn business what you do on your phone," Paul said.
The senator's approach went over well with the crowd, the Post reports.
"Got to love it," Joey Gallagher, 22, a community organizer with stud earrings, told the newspaper. He was drinking a honey-pilsner beer. "It's a breath of fresh air."
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