(Waukee, IA) Welcome to the live blog for the 2015 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring kickoff at Point of Grace Church. This is the 3rd large event leading up to the Iowa Caucus in February. Many prospective candidates will be here: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), former Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR), U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA).
The event kicks off at 5:00pm, most recent updates will be at the top right below here. Be sure to refresh your browser for updates. Fair warning I may have to break for interviews, etc. so I won’t be able to live blog every minute of the event, but I will try to bring as much of it as I can.
10:09p – A few final thoughts. Everyone did well that were here. Top four, as far as crowd reaction goes, (not ranked) would be Cruz, Fiorina, Huckabee, and Jindal. Top three on the topic of religious liberty: Cruz, Huckabee, and Jindal. Losers? Candidates who didn’t show – Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush. I’m not saying they didn’t have good reasons for missing, but this was a missed opportunity for them.
9:56p – The event is over – Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition fall event is September 19th at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
9:49p – Sorry, I’m running out of gas here on the live blog…. Walker is going on a good tear about radical Islam, Iran, etc. Best three candidates on foreign policy today: 1. Santorum 2. Fiorina 3. Walker
9:44p – Walker is moving onto foreign policy. Santorum is really the only candidate who spoke on this in depth.
9:43p – Walker: Pushing sending money back to states, block grants, etc. Marriage: states are the ones that should make that decision.
9:40p – Walker: Passed castle doctrine, passed right to work, passed voter ID…
9:40p – Walker: “We defunded Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin.” Huge applause.
9:38p – Walker is running down changes in Wisconsin with budget and economy.
9:34p – Walker quoting devotional: “Regarding of the day’s problems (Jesus) can keep us in perfect piece.”
9:30p – Walker said they won the only gubernatorial recall election in our nation. He forgot about the California gubernatorial recall election that paved the way for Arnold Schwartzenegger to come to office.
9:29p – Walker took time to honor veterans.
9:25p – Last speaker is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
9:23p – Cruz points out how the media never asks the left how they would feel if their child became an evangelical Christian or faithful Catholic. Zing!
9:20p – Cruz: The liberal position is so extreme it is waking people up. Religious liberty is a unifying fashion.
9:19p – Cruz: Today’s Democratic Party has decided there are no room for Christians in the Democratic Party.
9:17p – Cruz calls on people to pray before SCOTUs decision on marriage. He introduced a marriage amendment and a law removing court jurisdiction over marriage.
9:14p – Cruz: Senate Democrats introduced legislation to gut the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
9:12p – Cruz: The Democratic Party has become so radicalized in its support for same sex marriage that there is no room for religious liberty.
9:11p – Cruz: It wasn’t too long ago that religious freedom had bipartisan support.
9:10p – Cruz: “The image of a cross has power.”
9:09p: Cruz: Is going over his record on defending religious liberty.
9:07p – Cruz: We are seeing an awakening across the state of Iowa and across this great nation.
9:05p – Ted Cruz is up… He said Ready for Hillary made its first hire – director of email security. It is good to see that Lois Lerner has a job. LOL
9:04p – Huckabee gave a strong speech tonight. He again demonstrates that he is one of our nation’s premiere communicators.
9:02p – Huckabee said believers will be scorned and mocked, but what we should tolerate is being jailed and fined for their faith.
9:01p – Huckabee gives Jindal props for his op/ed in the New York Times defending biblical marriage.
8:59p – Huckabee doubles down on his earlier comment that America is headed down the road of criminalizing Christianity.
8:58p – Huckabee: The single greatest threat to all of our freedoms is the threat against our religious liberty.
8:56p – Huckabee: The only way we will close the IRS is with the Fair Tax.
8:55p – Huckabee: If we are going to save this country we must return power back to the people.
8:54p – Huckabee: Beware of the leader who says that when elected he will take away risk and responsibility.
8:51p – Huckabee said because many in our nation have forgotten this when we question the nature of life and marriage.
8:50p – Huckabee: This country was founded on some basic biblical principles.
8:48p – Huckabee gets standing O before he spoke.
8:46p – I have to give Congressman Young props for taking less time speaking as a sitting congressman than most of the surrogate campaign speakers. Huckabee is up.
8:44p – Congressman David Young announced today in front of almost 1000 Iowa conservative activists… He is…. not running for President. He did say that there was a need for a mechanic as there is a Scooby van out in the parking lot that is stuck in reverse and going nowhere.
8:38p – Chuck Laudner is speaking for Donald Trump. He said, “let me explain how me and Donald Trump ended up in the same sentence… because it seems like I’ve only worked for campaigns that had no money… People would have thought that I was actually allergic to money.”
8:23p – SEVEN speakers between Santorum and the next prospective candidate present. CRAZY!!!!!
8:21p – They shouldn’t have allowed surrogates to speak on behalf of candidates who didn’t come, regardless of reason. This event is waaaaaaaaay too long.
8:15p – I’m back. Gov. Jeb Bush’s surrogate is here explaining how good he is on religious liberty. Bush should be here himself.
7:58p – We are having a couple of songs…. time for a short break.
7:57p – Santorum: In this election you can’t just do what you’ve always done. You need to get involved. You need to give the widow’s mite.
7:55p – Santorum: Iowans this year, don’t be a spectator, but engage.
7:53p – Santorum: If we don’t contain ISIS, ISIS will continue to recruit, and recruit effectively and here in America. He demonstrates his foreign policy chops.
7:51p – Santorum said he told President Bush that they could not negotiate with Iran. On the first day of a Santorum presidency he’ll throw that deal in the trash can.
7:48p – Santorum: We spend our time in education on this ridiculous notion – Common Core that tells parents to stay out when we should be spending time on common sense saying parents come in.
7:47p – Santorum: Discussed the breakdown of the family, he was the first who really linked this with an economic message in 2012.
7:46p – Santorum: We need to say we are on the side of the American worker, and we need to say it with policy. He advocates an increase of minimum wage. Not long ago only 1% of the working class made the minimum wage. “We are dancing on a pin.” he said when it comes to speaking out against that.
7:44p – Santorum: We need to compete so ‘made in America’ is not just a slogan, but a reality. The Republican Party used to be the party of limited immigration.
7:42p – Santorum: 90% of workers don’t own a business. We need to have a message that connects.
7:41p – Santorum: Republican Party has not adapted our message to who we are and what our country needs.
7:38p – Santorum: I didn’t win Iowa because I was the last person standing, but because I stood for something and I stood for someone.
7:36p – Rick Santorum is up. He said he has been to 16 counties already this year.
7:34p – Great speech from Fiorina, some of the same themes were discussed when she was in Ames.
7:30p – Fiorina: She was asked if a woman’s hormones get in the way of being President… She asked can we all think of times when a man made a bad decision due to his hormones… Ouch. “Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be President, not because she is a woman. Hillary Clinton should not be President because she is not trustworthy.”
7:29p – Fiorina: Goes on foreign policy tear… Stop talking to Iran.
7:27p – Fiorina: “The world is a very dangerous and tragic place when the United States is not leading.”
7:24p: Fiorina: “I learned that you can have a great title and office and not lead. We have one of those in the Oval Office…. We desperately need leadership in Washington, DC.”
7:21p – Fiorina: “We are destroying more small businesses in America than we are creating… When we crush them we are crushing the potential of America.” She is taking on crony capitalism.
7:19p – Fiorina: “I ran as a pro-life conservative in California’s U.S. Senate race. You don’t do that unless you mean it.” She was encouraged to tack to the center after winning the primary, but refused. She said that race showed that only a conservative can unite America as she more Republican, Democrat, and independent voters than anyone else in state races.
7:16p – Fiorina: “It was my husband Frank and my relationship with Jesus Christ that saved us from a time of utter sadness.” (Talking about when her daughter died.)
7:15p – Fiorina says that our rights come from God, not government – applause.
7:11p – Carly Fiorina is discussing Hillary’s trip to Iowa in the Scooby van stopping only for a Chipotle and for a scripted meeting with Obama interns. Fiorina now has a taste for Casey’s sausage pizza.
7:09p – Great response for Jindal. This was a good event for him. So far everyone has done well and has been received well. I think Jindal may have caught some folks’ eyes.
7:07p – Jindal: I’m tried of the hyphenated Americans. We are all Americans. If my parents wanted to raise Indians they would have stayed in India.
7:06p – Jindal: “The United States did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America.” Standing ovation.
7:04p – Jindal does a good job explaining that Clinton wants us just to have a freedom of religious expression, not the freedom of religious conscience. He states also that his view of marriage is not “evolving.”
7:02p – Jindal criticizing Hillary Clinton’s comment that we need to have our religious beliefs change. “My religious beliefs are not between me and Hillary Clinton, they are between me and God.”
6:56p – Just came back with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal discuss his faith. He said the most important moment in his life is when he found Jesus Christ and Jesus found him. I missed the rest. Not often you hear candidates talk about the Gospel. Interviewed Ted Cruz, watch for the video.
6:22p – Steve Scheffler is up, I’m off to another interview.
6:21p – Perry: We lived through Jimmy Carter, we’ll make it through the Obama years.
6:19p – Perry: It is time for America to be America again – to lead. The idea that America can have influence in that part of the world (Middle East) is offensive… Our role is to defend (our) values around the world.
6:17p – Perry: Our best years are ahead of us…. I’m excited about the potential in front of us. This is our moment.
6:15p – Perry: If energy is a weapon, I want America to have the largest arsenal. He’s advocating an everything and anything approach.
6:14p – Perry: America is a country of second chances, and America needs a second chance.
6:12p – I’m back, had a 10 minute interview with Governor Walker, watch for the video, when I was walking out Paul was talking about he was tired of politicians retreating on the subject of life. Perry is up now. He’s talking about how he approached public service as service to God. Talking about biblical characters…
5:52p – Paul said when he gets tired of politics it goes back to Kentucky to practice medicine and does a lot of charity work in Kentucky and has gone to Guatemala. Ok, headed to interviews will be back in a little while.
5:50p – Paul: People ask me why did you get in involved with politics and I usually tell them I was getting sick of throwing stuff at my TV.
5:48p – Grassley gets a standing O… Rand Paul is up next. I’ll have to leave soon for a couple of interviews. Sorry.
5:46p – Grassley: “With your help I will continue to fight for faith, freedom and the rule of law.”
5:44p – Grassley throws down some Charles Spurgeon.
5:41p – Grassley notes the freedom of religion is our first right. He said America has never been a secular nation even though some on the left want us to be. The constitution does not endorse secularism, but pluralism.
5:39p – Grassley became the Senate Judiciary Chair and said Washington needs a few non-lawyers to remind them about the Constitution.
5:37p – Grassley is up. Iowans take elections very seriously because we know elections have consequences.
5:33p – Rubio gets standing ovation. Kayne Robinson is the emcee and he is introducing local speakers – U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, Congressman David Young (R-IA) and Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann.
5:31p – Rubio: His grandfather did not want him to waist the opportunities that he never had.
5:29p – Rubio is closing with remarks about his grandfather who had polio. “He lived with us and would sit on our porch and smoke 3 cigars daily. He lived until 84.”
5:27p – Rubio has borrowed some lines from Rick Santorum. The chief cause of poverty is the breakdown of the family. He reminded the audience to applause that marriage is an institution older than government itself and an institution that is one man and one woman. He said that children and families that consist of a mom and dad do the best (paraphrasing).
5:24p – Rubio: Reform higher ed… schools should have to tell students what kinds of jobs and pay are associated with those who graduated from that school with a particular major.
5:23p – Rubio: We have a vastly different economy competing with numerous countries… We must have tax reform and regulation reform. We must also accept that automation has changed the nature of work.
5:21p – Rubio: We have leaders who have forgotten that government is no replacement for our government, our families, our homes and our communities.
5:20p – I think I’ve heard this speech before (at least a shortened version) oh, yeah at a meet and greet I attended this afternoon that State Senator Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) hosted in his home. I’ll have video of that up later.
5:18p – Rubio: “Every single human being was born with rights given to them by God for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
5:17p – Rubio is starting off with some biography about his parents immigrating from Cuba to Miami.
5:15p – Ladies who sung the Star Spangled Banner did a fabulous job. Marco Rubio is up first.
5:08p – Pastor David Clickscales of Woodland Hills Church of Christ in Pleasant Hill is giving the invocation.
5:00p – I take it back, there are some reserved seats not filled up, but most of those folks are probably doing a meet and greet with some candidates. We are facing a delay because of a traffic accident on Hickman Avenue. There was also a traffic light out (which could be want they meant) which was slowing traffic from I-80/35 down.
4:53p – We have a packed house, literally standing room only. I believe there are about 900 seats.