Texas Congressman Ron Paul won both votes in the October 29 Iowa straw poll, winning 82 percent of the Iowa vote, easily besting Herman Cain's 15 percent support. The straw poll, sponsored by the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, also included a poll for out-of-state supporters of presidential candidates that Paul won more narrowly, besting Cain by 26 and 25 percentage points, respectively. The NFRA promoted their straw poll as, in the words of Human Events Political Editor John Gizzi,“gold for GOP hopefuls.” The NFRA also pointed out that its straw poll was "last major straw poll before the Iowa caucuses," but the poll included less than 600 total votes cast between the two polls. The number of attendees and votes was much less than the 4,671 votes that Paul won in a close second place loss to Michele Bachmann in the Ames Straw Poll back on August 13.
The straw poll could be seen as a victory of the message of peace won a straw poll over the message of more war, as the only two candidates to address the conference were Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (who finished a distant third with only one percent of Iowa voters).
Santorum addressed the audience with a condemnation of President Obama's withdrawal from Iraq, suggesting Obama's action was “a surrender to a growing and powerful force in the Middle East that is not going to beneficial to Israel, not going to be beneficial to the Iraqi cause or the Afghani cause. We have a president who has refused to confront evil.” The Iraqi government had demanded that the U.S. government remove combat troops from Iraq, and Obama's hand had been forced by an agreement signed by President Bush in 2008.
Representative Paul countered that an intimidating posture by the U.S. government abroad threatened to encroach upon basic freedoms enjoyed by American citizens for more than two centuries. “How intimidating do we have to be?” Paul asked, noting that the drone strike aimed at U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki also killed his 16-year-old son, also a U.S. citizen. “How secure do we have to be that we would assassinate a 16-year-old kid who is an American citizen? What is he going to do? Is he going to launch a missile against us or something?” Paul noted that Americans had little to fear from a foreign invasion, but more to fear from their own government. “I fear much more the erosion of our protections of our liberties here at home and the erosion of our economy than I do any foreign adversary.” Paul concluded that “it is time for us to come home and mind our own business.”
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