Presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Texas) and his libertarian message received a raucous welcome from the socially conservative crowd at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday morning.
Paul’s supporters were out in force at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, and they made their presence known, roaring at familiar talking points such as the accusation the nation’s central bank is “counterfeiting our currency.”
But the longtime congressman also modified his message slightly to play to the family values crowd, emphasizing the Biblical roots of many of his principles and avoiding controversial positions such as his advocacy for ending the war on drugs.
Paul cited his background as a physician as a reason why he would be particularly well-suited to defending the anti-abortion rights position shared by most of the audience.
“You cannot defend liberty if you don’t understand life and where it comes from,” Paul said to a standing ovation.
Notably, some of the loudest cheers came in response to Paul’s strong words against military intervention as he pointed to the two wars the U.S. is currently engaged in as a drain on both the economy as well as the service members and their.
“One of the greatest threats to the family is war. It undermines the family,” Paul said, adding that war also causes inflation, poverty and an increased rate of suicide among veterans.
The speech had the feel of a campaign rally as Paul’s supporters stood up repeatedly and chanted his name in unison while other members of the audience looked on.
Paul gave his fans what they came to hear, closing with a libertarian flourish in which he warned that Americans should be wary of the reach of the U.S. government.
“Now you have no privacy whatsoever,” Paul warned the crowd, citing airport security and government surveillance programs. “We are living in an age where government is way too big.”