Ron Paul told a room full of veterans Wednesday night that he plans to drastically cut overseas spending.
“It would mean that we would bring the troops home,” Paul slowly said, smiling as he touted the economic benefit during a salute to veterans rally in Des Moines, Iowa.
Earlier in the day, Paul again questioned why the United States needed to maintain a military presence in Australia, Germany, Japan and South Korea — even as the death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il raised concerns about the region’s stability.
“How long do we have to stay in Korea?” he asked at a campaign event at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. “We were there since I was in high school.”
Paul’s non-interventionist view for America is sure to incite even more criticism from his GOP rivals, who have been hammering the Texas congressman for his view that Iran should be able to develop a nuclear program for peaceful purposes.
Romney became the latest in line Wednesday to take a swipe at the Texas congressman, a day after Gingrich unabashedly said that he would not vote for Paul if he were to win the GOP nomination.
Romney indirectly blasted comments made by Paul earlier this month that cautioned against “jumping the gun” on Iran.
“At the same time, the greatest threat Israel faces and, frankly, the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran,” the former Massachusetts governor said during a meet-and-greet at a coffee shop in Muscatine, Iowa. “We have differing views on this. Some of the people — actually one of the people running for president — thinks it’s okay for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I don’t.”
Michele Bachmann, who is hanging at the bottom of the polls, said Paul would be a “dangerous president” and he would “wait until one our cities is wiped off the map” before confronting Iran.
Michele Bachmann was dealt a surprise blow Wednesday night when her state co-chair State Sen. Kent Sorensen announced he would support Paul, changing allegiances just six days before the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses. Sorensen said he switched candidates because Paul was “the most conservative of this group.”
“It’s difficult — but it’s the right thing to do,” Sorensen told the crowd Wednesday night.
Paul also received a surprise in the form of protestors, who briefly interrupted the start of his speech.
“Freedom of speech, ain’t it wonderful,” Paul yelled over a roaring crowd whose applause drowned out the voices of the protestors.
Paul returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday with some more good polling news.
Twenty-two percent of likely Iowa GOP voters in a new CNN/Time/ORC International Poll picked Ron Paul as the candidate of choice – placing him just behind Mitt Romney at 25 percent.
Recognizing his front-runner status this morning in Newton, Iowa, Paul looked out at all the reporters and television cameras and remarked on his rising popularity in the state.
“There does look like there are more cameras than there used to be,” said Paul adding “For many years, the crowds were very small.”