By Hannah Hess
Wednesday July 6th 2011
MARSHALLTOWN — Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul vowed Wednesday to cut funding for free contraceptives if elected president, affirming his stance as an anti-abortion candidate and personal responsibility advocate to supporters here.
"Whether it's buying a loaf of bread or getting a birth control pill, in a free country, that's your responsibility," said Paul, in response to a question about how to provide reproductive health care for uninsured Americans under his plan to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions and a leading pro-abortion rights advocate.
Paul's answer prompted applause from the nearly 80 supporters in the Fisher Community Center for an hour-long event that focused on Paul's "cause of liberty" in advocating for personal freedoms and less government involvement.
The tea party candidate, who also ran for president as a Republican in 2008 and a Libertarian in 1988, is one of five Republicans who signed the Susan B. Anthony List's anti-abortion pledge, as a promise to select anti-abortion cabinet members, stop taxpayer funding of abortions and support a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Fellow tea party candidate and Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann also signed the pledge, but Paul told IowaPolitics.com after the speech that despite being "very close" on the issue of abortion and having a friendly relationship in the U.S. House, the two differ on foreign policy and economic issues.
"I think there's some overlap, obviously," he said. "But I think my emphasis on the war and the Patriot Act and the Federal Reserve sort of separates us a little bit."
Though Paul voted to use military force against those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, spiraling spending has since convinced him that a drawdown of troops is needed. Paul said Wednesday that the war has been draining the economy, and he advocated for non-intervention, bringing U.S. troops home and protecting U.S. borders.
"A lot of people say, and we've been taught this in our schools, that war ended our Depression," he said. "War reduced the unemployment, but a million, 2 million people are over there getting shot at and a bunch of them — hundreds of thousands of them — are getting killed. That's a heck of a way to end unemployment."
The 20-year veteran of Congress also criticized current borrowing practices and said he would vote against raising the debt ceiling, calling the United States the "biggest debtor nation in the history of the world."
Cory Adams, 34, of Ames, who considers himself a tea party supporter, agreed with Paul's stance on the economy and social issues.
"I have to live within my means and Congress needs to as well, and his maximum freedom, limited government approach," Adams said.
Adams then said he had not committed his vote to Paul and still considered Bachmann "on the radar."
The Texas congressman didn't venture a guess on whether he would beat Bachmann at the Aug. 13 Iowa Straw Poll in Ames. His campaign has invested heavily in the event, paying $31,000 and winning the spot held in 2007 by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.
"I have no idea," Paul said about beating Bachmann. "Depends on who comes out."
The Paul campaign announced Wednesday that it is offering discount tickets to the straw poll, selling them for $10 instead of the full price of $30.
See photos from the Ron Paul event in Marshalltown: