Ron Paul woos religious conservatives as he pushes hard for win in Iowa

Ron Pauls campaign has gone hard after religious conservatives in the final days leading to the Iowa GOP caucus, seeking to broaden his appeal and cement a win in the state.

In recent days, the Texas congressmans campaign has released an ad touting his anti-abortion-rights views and rolled out a series of endorsements from Iowa pastors. The campaign Thursday released a Christmas ad featuring the candidate’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), praising the elder Paulcommitment to faith, family and the Constitution.

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Paul also signed a pledge Monday from Personhood USA, an anti-abortion-rights group. The pledge states that every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise.

Some leading social conservatives in the state have expressed concerns about whether Pauls anti-government views hinder his stated opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Bob Vander Plaats, a social conservative kingmaker, said that while he respects Paul, sometimes his libertarian views trump his moral compass. 

Pauls worldview means he will never be a movement favorite for social conservatives. But if the ads succeed, he could put to rest the concerns of some social conservatives who agree with his other stances.

Paul has led in most recent polls of Iowa voters, and has a reliable base of support in the state — usually around 20 percent.

But self-identified evangelical Christians make up more than 60 percent of Iowa Republican caucus-goers, and have remained split between multiple candidates including Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.

If Paul can expand his strong base of support from libertarian-leaning voters in the state to include enough social conservatives, he will be well-positioned for a victory in the Jan. 3 caucus.

Pauls campaign has long sought to push his anti-abortion-rights bona fides, releasing an October ad in which he talked of his experience as an obstetrician and why he strongly opposes abortion rights.

Both ads point out that Paul has delivered 4,000 babies and is committed to protecting life. The most recent ad features testimonials from former patients, while the first one shows Paul discussing how he witnessed an abortion where the baby was able to cry and breathe and they put it in a little bucket in the corner of the room.