Vivek Ramaswamy’s return to Iowa sparked curiosity and skepticism after his speech. compelling performance In the first Republican presidential debate.

this Charismatic 38 year old businessman Hundreds of Republican activists met in the small central city near Des Moines on Friday, with more events planned for the coming days.

He has drawn renewed interest from Republicans who will be in the first U.S. caucuses next year, but has also raised concerns among attendees at his events and drawn sharp criticism from a former Republican governor.Most of the negative feedback has to do with his foreign policy philosophy, especially His argument that America should stop Provide arms and funds to Ukraine to counter Russian invasion.

“I like that he’s young, energetic and wants to overthrow the whole thing,” said Thomas Bean, 23, who attended a morning event south of Des Moines. He was referring to Ramaswamy’s goal of cutting federal bureaucracy by 75%.

“I like what he’s proposing. They’re not maintaining the status quo,” said Bean, a public relations professional. “I just don’t know how much of what he’s proposing is realistic.”

Like Beane, Ramaswamy’s youth, energy and outsider persona were mentioned by several people who came to meet him — and his criticism and critique of his better-known rival was interrupted at times in Milwaukee on Wednesday. He drew a larger-than-expected audience on Friday, first at the Indianola breakfast restaurant and later at a lunchtime event at Pera’s Beer Bar.

Ramaswamy introduced himself as the son of poor Indian immigrants. But he has mostly spoken out for what he says is a frustrated generation seeking meaning in a country he says has lost its patriotism. The Ohio businessman has a background in investing and biotech.

“So what does it mean to be American? It means we believe in the ideals that drove this country forward 250 years ago,” Ramaswamy said, to applause. “You succeed in this country not by the color of your skin, but by your character and contribution.”

Compared with Wednesday, he has mostly struck a more encouraging tone when confronting senior politicians such as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Vice President Mike Pence.

Ramaswamy’s argument that the U.S. should suspend economic aid to Ukraine was sharply rebuked by Pence and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley. Haley on Wednesday likened Ramaswamy’s position to “choosing a murderer” by siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ramaswamy said the cross talk and jabs during the debate were like “some jokes on the basketball court”.

Still, Ramaswamy’s campaign has captured his rising profile.his campaign Said to have raised $450,000 In the first few hours after the debate ended. He is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who has yet to endorse either candidate, said in an interview that Ramaswamy “brings some real enthusiasm to traditional values ​​that Americans really crave. and promises,” but described his foreign policy as “a real problem.”

“I don’t think he’s really thought it through. I think Nicky Haley did hold him accountable in that regard.” Branstad, who served as ambassador to China under former President Donald Trump De said. “exactly.”

Janice Johnson, 72, of Indianola, Iowa, said she wants Ramaswamy’s generation to run the country. But Johnson, speaking before an event, said Ramaswamy was “a bit too enthusiastic at times”.

Jim Jones, a former county Republican official from nearby Carlisle, said he was both curious and concerned about Ramaswamy.

“It’s just curious how this guy came to be so powerful and popped up so quickly?” said Jones, 75. “The apprehension comes from the idea of ​​him ditching Ukraine. It’s kind of scary.”

Ramaswamy said on Friday he was trying to protect Ukraine by seeking an outcome in which Russia retains territories it has seized by force.

“I personally think this is actually the best, reasonable outcome for Ukraine. At least its sovereignty is intact and it saved a lot of Ukrainian lives in the process,” he told reporters when asked about the criticism . “This is the best, most realistic scenario for Ukraine.”

Others with more vested interests also attacked Ramaswamy.

Hal Lambert, a donor to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, questioned Ramaswamy’s credentials and rationale for running, noting that Ramaswamy frequently praised Trump during debates, while Trump Pu is still a favorite for the nomination.

“Either he thinks Trump is going to go to jail, or he thinks he’s 38 years old and has less experience than the average city councilor, but he’ll be better than ‘the greatest president of the 21st century,'” Lambert said. Which one? In any case, he shouldn’t have run away.”

Ken Cuccinelli, chairman of a super PAC that supports DeSantis, predicted last week that Ramaswamy would come under more scrutiny as interest in him grows. Never Back Down issued a strategy memo ahead of the debate urging DeSantis to attack Ramaswamy — something the Florida governor chose not to do, choosing to largely stay out of the way of the others on stage Infighting.

“So, I’m not going to drop ‘Fake Vivek,'” Cuccinelli said, citing a catchphrase that “Never Back Down” hopes DeSantis used. “He’s the most volatile candidate in the field, and he’s not under any scrutiny.”


Associated Press writers Steve Peoples and Michelle Price contributed reporting from New York and Bill Barrow from Atlanta.


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