By Daniel Mollenkamp
ORANGE CITY — Four Republican candidates met in Northwest Iowa Friday evening, with din from Wednesday’s Republican debate still audible, in a gathering of the Cherokee, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth and Sioux County Republican parties.
Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina and former Senator Rick Santorum pitched their presidencies to a crowd of more than 500, at the Bultman Center on the campus of Northwestern College in Orange City.
The result was fairly standard: there was several calls to defund to Planned Parenthood, reiterations of American exceptionalism and talk of business and family.
Several students associated with the democratic party afterwards gave their impression of the event. There was, one of them said, nearly 30 mentions of Clinton.
Those mentions ran the usual gamut, from calls to deny Clinton her “coronation” to Fiorina, who argued that if she were the Republican nominee, Clinton would not be able to campaign on her womanhood, but would be reduced to her record.
Rubio, who very recently received the backing of billionaire Paul Singer, spoke about the American dream and called for a repeal of Obamacare. He also called for an end to the “stigma” on vocational education, saying “a welder makes a lot more than a philosopher.”
Fiorina promised to make two phone calls upon election; the first to Netanyahu, shoring up American-Israeli ties, the second to Ali Khamenei, scraping the Iran deal in favor of a tougher and altogether more Republican one. The rest of her speech centered, alternatively, on a need for simpler tax code, more emphasis on small business and her business acumen (the opening story was a long exposition of her involvement with the “Christian-based” microfinance organization Opportunity International, which ended by reaffirming the pride found in working).
Christie brought up his vetoing of the New Jersey budget tax hikes in “very blue” state, hoping to secure his Republican credentials. In his words, “balancing the budget means making the government smaller.”
Santorum, for his part, argued that low poll numbers mean little. After all, Santorum reminded the audience, he has played the underdog before, and won Iowa doing it.
In a sense, just because something is political, it is not necessarily news.
The standout news of Friday was report that U.S. special forces will be deployed on the ground in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria to assist Kurdish and Arab forces fight Daesh (more commonly known as the ISIS).
However, by the time the fat person wailed, it was clear that none of the candidates present had incorporated this as a substantive part of their pitch, as one might have expected. Though, Fiorina mentioned it before the event in front of the press and Santorum responded to it at a meet n’ greet in Le Mars in the afternoon.
Stay tuned, junkies. There’s more to come.