GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul during a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday. (AP)
GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul trotted out two well-worn talking points as he began his closing argument in Iowa on Friday, though according to one report the crowd didn’t quite go for them.
The Texas congressman — who is neck and neck with Mitt Romney in the Iowa polls — was well-received in a public library conference room, but dire warnings about a United Nations conspiracy and imminent rioting in the streets “fell somewhat flat,” Talking Points Memo reported.
As the site — which leans liberal — pointed out, Paul hasn’t toned down his “core rhetoric” even as he’s surged to the top of the polls. In the northwest town of Sioux Center, he warned that a pro-U.N. lobby would like to have the world body take control of Americans’ property:
If you want to use your property, you have to get a lot of permits. If you’re in the development business, from the low-level all the way to the top, you have to get permission from the federal government…I’m fearful because some people would like us to go all the way to the UN and have the UN controlling our lands, too.
TPM also quoted Paul warning about coming violent riots in U.S. streets already seen in different places around the world:
Freedom has been tested just rather rarely in all of history. In most of history, 90-99 percent of the time, people have had to live under dictatorships. And as our government gets bigger, and violates our civil liberties with laws like the Patriot Act that invade our privacy they become more dictatorial. … We are losing those liberties.
Our system was the greatest and I fear that we’re going to give it up. And as it’s given up, if we don’t deal with these problems, I am afraid that there will be more violence. People will get angry because they’re not going to get what they believe they have a right to. So if you’ve been providing for something else that other people are providing they get angry.
We already see this in Europe, we already see some of it in our own streets where people get angry and upset, where people get angry and upset and if we don’t understand these issues to change the policy it’s going to get a lot worse and then there will be chaos and people will be even more willing to give up their liberties.
The site spoke to a local “fervent” Paul supporter who admitted that even he wasn‘t sure about some of the candidate’s predictions. John Anderson said he was certainly concerned things could get bad, but as far as Greece-level street violence, he was less sure:
“Um,” he said with a long pause, “I think it’s a little far-fetched.”
Curtis Jacobs, also of Iowa, told TPM he equated Paul’s talk of street violence with the Occupy Wall Street movement. He said he was still undecided about which candidate he’ll support.
“If that’s what he was calling violence, yeah I could see that happening,” Jacobs said. “But beyond that? Anything’s possible, I suppose.”
Paul is spending New Year’s weekend in his home state of Texas ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, where he’s poised to do very well.