ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) -- Republican Rep. Ron Paul says he believes his economic ideas are penetrating and a strong showing in Minnesota and other upcoming states will send a signal that Americans are fed up with tepid change and government as it is.
He spoke at a Rochester, Minn. high school Saturday.
He didn't mention President Barack Obama or his GOP competitors by name, diving instead into a lecture about a need to protect personal liberties, revive the gold standard, abolish the Federal Reserve and shift to a less-interventionist foreign policy.
Paul drew nearly 16 percent of the 2008 vote. Organizers were holding "practice caucuses" during his weekend events in Minnesota.
He also spoke at a Chanhassen rally Saturday in a small building at the center of an upscale storage space complex. As many as 500 people listened as he criticized the government's poor response to 9/11 and called for the withdrawal of troops from foreign posts. Paul got big cheers when he suggested the Federal Reserve, paper money, and the income tax should be abolished.
"We became a nation that was more concerned about just sorta spreading the wealth around and government having power and the special interests got control," he said. "And generally, we forgot about what the principles of liberty are about. Where does production come from? It comes from your basic right to your life, the right to work, and it should be the right to keep the fruits of your labor."
Paul's audience was made up of fervent supporters and people who have yet to make up their minds. Many said they planned to participate in the state's caucuses Tuesday.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is due in the state Sunday.
MPR News reporter Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)