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Iowa Freedom Summit, Organized by Congressman Steve King and
Citizens United, Draws as Many as a Dozen 2016 Presidential Propects
January 24, 2015--About one year out from the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, over 1,200 activists filled the ornate Hoyt Sherman Place theater in Des Moines for nine hours of political speeches.  The audience heard from as many as a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls in what was described as the "kickoff event" of the 2016 caucus campaign.

In his opening remarks
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who hosted the summit with Citizens United, set out some possible planks for the next president, calling for election of "a full-spectrum constitutional conservative."  King even delivered an impromptu prayer, asking God to "identify and lift up the individual whom you will use to restore the soul of this great country.

Attendees heard from Gov. Terry Branstad, both Iowa Senators, the state Republican party chair and co-chair, and others.  Starting in late morning and through the afternoon the 2016 presidential hopefuls spoke, each for about 20 minutes.  They addressed such topics as reining in big government and restoring power to the states, the inadequacies of Obama's foreign policy and particularly the threat posed by radical Islamic jihad, their pro-life views, Common Core, Obamacare, and illegal immigration.  They jibed at the liberals and the left, and ore broadly they presented their visions for moving the country forward.  Many of the potential candidate also sought to connect with attendees through telling of personal anecdotes.  

Although some of the attendees are already supporting one or another of the potential candidates, most are still weighing a field which as of now includes no formally declared candidates.  "It's important to keep things open now," stated an activist from Minnesota. 

Potential candidates speaking at the summit were: Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Gov. Scott Walker, former Gov. Jim Gilmore, former Ambassador John Bolton, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Chris Christie, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.  Also noteworthy were those potential candidates who did not attend: former Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul, former Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio. 

The summit drew intense media coverage, and pundits weighed in on winners and losers.  Many pointed to Gov. Scott Walker as benefitting most from his performance. 

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz denounced the event as "an extremist ring kissing summit."  Immigrant rights organizations were critical; a group of youths from the Dream Action Coalition disrupted several of the speeches and were escorted out. 

Attendees line up outside Hoyt Sherman Place prior to the Summit.  It was a beautiful clear day in Des Moines.
Summit Scenes

Outside  |  DNC  |  More Pre-Summit  |  Morning Speakers  |  Dr. Ben Carson  |  Donald Trump  |  Gov. Scott Walker  Former Gov. Jim Gilmore  |  Former Amb. John Bolton  |  Former Sen. Rick Santorum  |  Sen. Ted Cruz  |  Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina  |  Former Gov. Sarah Palin  |  Former Gov. Rick Perry  |  Protesters  |  Gov. Chris Christie  |  former Gov. Mike Huckabee  |  More.

Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking from this stage to you today?

-Rep. Steve King (+)

MoreAmerica's Renewable Future  |  America's Voice  |  American Bridge 21st Century  |  Dream Action Coalition

Transcripts: Carson  |  Trump  |  Walker  |  Gilmore  |  Bolton  |  Santorum  |  Cruz  |  Fiorina  |  Palin  |  Perry  |  Christie  |  Huckabee  ||  Word Clouds

Final edits Feb. 15, 2015.  Assistance of Elaine Hites greatly appreciated
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