Republican presidential-nomination hopeful Ron Paul, R-T.X., said he wished the elections were held on the internet.
Paul mentioned what he called his "truly laissez faire campaign" raising close to $20 million in the fourth quarter in two days on the internet.
"They knew the money didn't flow in from special interest," he said. Like his unusual campaign fundraising, his speech in a Des Moines lecture hall earlier today didn't say anything about supporting him in this evening's caucuses or the significance of the audience's votes.
In fact, his speech differed from those heard so close to the caucuses. It consisted of privatizing health care and discussing why inflation occurs in areas such as health care but not technology.
Paul, who spoke to and answered questions from a full and relatively young audience, focused on governmental spending as well as relocating the funds used towards foreign affairs.
"It never seemed to me like there was a health-care crisis," he said of his time spent in medical school and as an OB/GYN. "But since then there's been some fear build up that medical care is undeliverable unless you get government to do the job."
He admitted his thoughts and proposed policies are idealistic. But he pointed out that other health-care proposals - like total health care - are idealistic as well.
"With no income tax and no inflation, believe me, no one would be complaining about buying their health care," he said.
Paul also said America is a wealthy country becoming poorer by the minute because its currency is losing strength. He said right now the United States is "flunking" and moving in the direction of a third-world country.
Helen Grattan said she plans on caucusing, but still doesn't know if she will vote for Paul or Thompson.
She said her sons were strong Paul supporters, and she thought he was impressive, but she said she has been around a lot longer and has more historical views and ideas.
Dan Smith and Matt DeLuco said they drove six hours from Missouri to see Paul.
Smith said he will vote in his home state caucus, New Jersey, because Paul stands for "everything great" about the United States, including small governmental practice and freedom of privacy.
"There's a lot of first-time voters," Smith said. "He'll surprise a lot of people tonight and in the primaries."
Paul said after the lecture that he does not know which place he'll receive, but the polls are "a bit off" when it comes to being representative of his following.
Check back throughout the day to read the Daily Iowan's full coverage of the Iowa Caucuses.
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