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Ron Paul brings libertarian message to St. Cloud

Ron Paul held a campaign rally in St. Cloud on Saturday, bringing his presidential campaign to rival Michele Bachmann’s district.

Paul gave his standard libertarian stump speech, deriding high government spending and aggressive American military action overseas. He was in town to open his Minnesota campaign office.

The St. Cloud Times summarized his message as, “it’s time to change course:”

Paul didn’t deviate from his decades-long criticism of a federal government he says has exceeded its constitutional bounds. He roundly indicted U.S. foreign, fiscal and monetary policy, the latter coming through swipes at one of his frequent targets, the Federal Reserve.

The Texas congressman also warned that the nation may be losing respect for the rule of law. Paul cited the recent U.S. killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who U.S. officials had linked to terrorist organizations, by saying al-Awlaki was never charged with a crime.

Paul also blasted U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and Asia — a stance that sets him apart from other Republican candidates who favor a more robust military presence in the region.

Paul said military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan isn’t bringing peace to the region and is “bankrupting our country.”

“We have to admit the truth: that we went the wrong direction and we can change it,” Paul said.

Tom Emmer, the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in 2010, introduced the candidate. Dan Severson, a former state representative who is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, also attended the event.

Paul’s last event in Minnesota was a 2009 forum at the University of Minnesota. His co-host that night? Michele Bachmann.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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