West Des Moines, Ia. — Ron Paul enjoyed a rock star reception this morning during a get-out-the-vote rally at Valley High School in West Des Moines.
Throngs of reporters snapped photos and yelled out questions as he made his way into the school’s gymnasium. Once inside, the studentsoffered the 76-year-0ld congressman their warmest welcome of the day.
Roughly 800 juniors and seniors gathered clapped and cheered for the Paul, who briefly sported a pair of shades. Chris Moody, a political reporter with Yahoo! News tweeted this gem: “Iowa HS girl on Ron Paul when he enters rally: ‘He’s got his glasses on. Like a BOSS.’”
U.S. Congressman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and the sons of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also addressed students at this morning’s rally — but were not treated to as enthusiastic of a welcome.
Paul had traded in his signature suit and tie for slacks and a button-down navy blue shirt. He also departed briefly from his standard stump speech.
“I’m wondering, does anyone here know the name Kelly Clarkson,” Paul started out by asking.
The congressman went on to tell students that the former American Idol contestant had recently endorsed him.
“I have to admit, I didn’t know a whole lot about her,” he said. “But I do know that our supporters were so enthusiastic about that, that they went out and bumped up the sales of her records by 600 percent.”
From there, Paul returned to the key policy points that have propelled his front-runner status in Iowa. The congressman said he would bring American troops home from Afghanistan and end “run-away inflation.”
Paul asserts that the Federal Reserve has over-produced U.S. currency. He told students today that because dollar bills are not backed by silver or gold, “the value of the money goes down, and the prices go up” when more currency floods the market.
“If you can destroy the money, you can then destroy the economy, and that’s what we have been doing,” Paul said.
College tuition rates have “skyrocketed” not because the actual price of higher education has increased, but “because the value of the money has gone down,” he said.
“And young people know this — they’ve studied it, they’re looking at Austrian economics and they are looking at the Federal Reserve system,” Paul said. “The business cycle can be understood by understanding monetary policy and the Federal Reserve.”
Paul’s case for fiscal restraint connected with 18-year-old Jacob Ogden, who said he started supporting Paul after seeing him in the cycle’s first televised GOP debate. He agrees with Paul that the Federal Reserve system should be eliminated, and replaced the gold standard.
“I just think he has some really strong ideas, and what he’s planning, I think he can accomplish in the time frame he’s set,” said the senior from Clive, who will caucus for Paul tonight. “We’ve been doing the same thing for a long time. We need a change and I think he’s the guy that can do it and turn us around.”
Paul spoke to the students for about 10 minutes. Because of the large number of media members clustered around him, it took another 10 minutes for the Texan to make his way out of the building.
A group of 20 to 25 supporters waited outside the school to get a glimpse of Paul. They held campaign signs and chanted the candidate’s name as staffers escorted him into a white SUV.
The congressman will spend the rest of today doing interviews and relaxing until tonight’s big event, staff members said.