Rand Paul, Kentucky senator, Tea Party leader and possibly heir to his father Ron's libertarian movement, told about 300 conservative Iowa Christians that America needs to recover and find its moral bearings.
"There is a sickness out there that needs more than political leadership. It needs spiritual leadership," he said. "In that cause, I'll do the best that I can."
As the keynote speaker for the spring fundraiser for the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, an influential group in Iowa Republican Party politics, Paul gave the least political speech of the night. He followed speeches by Iowa politicians Sen. Chuck Grassley, Rep. Tom Latham and Rep. Steve King.
Ralph Reed, the founder and chairman of the national Faith and Freedom Coalition, spoke about the organization's effort to identify evangelical Christians and Catholics who are not registered to vote, as well as to get registered voters in those groups to the polls in November.
Then he passed buckets to the crowd asking for donations to support that effort.
"I'm Not Always a Good Christian"
Paul, the eldest son of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, spoke about struggling with issues of his faith.
"I tend not to wear my faith on my sleeve," he said, adding later that "I see decisions government makes almost always in moral terms."
He spoke about his opposition to abortion and gay marriage, his fiscal conservativism and his opposition to war.
"I'm not a a pacifist but it is wrong to elect leaders who have any glee or enthusiasm for war," he said.
There were no standing ovations or interruptions of applause in his speech, which was not distinctly partisan.
His strongest partisan line was to criticize President Barack Obama's position on gay marriage.
"He said that his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical, but I didn't think his views on marriage could be any gayer," Paul said.
Heir to Libertarian Movement?
Rand Paul won his Senate seat in 2010 by beating an establishment Republican. Shortly after taking office, he helped found the Senate Tea Party Caucus, while still remaining loyal to the small-government, anti-big spending movement of his father.
Iowa conservative Christians may not be completely aligned with the Pauls' libertarian leanings, but Ron Paul nevertheless has plenty of support in Iowa.
Paul placed third in the Iowa caucus, and ironically, some are predicting that his followers will take 20 of Iowa's 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention at the state convention next month.
Earlier in the day, Paul told a Des Moines gathering sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative super PAC, that if the Iowa Republican Party wants to grow, it needs to include his father's supporters, according to the Des Moines Register.
That's part of Ron Paul's strategy to get enough delegates at the national convention to influence the Republican Party platform, to perhaps get a chance to speak at the convention, or as the Washington Post reports, a shot at the vice presidential slot for his son.
National Journal quoted an unnamed Paul campaign adviser as saying Paul has stayed in the race to have influence over the Republican party platform, but also to raise money that will help build his movement for years to come.
"Yes, Ron is 76 years old, but he has a son," the Journal quoted the adviser saying.