The Washington Times - July 19, 2013, 07:29PM

DES MOINES — Seeking to make the Republican party more inclusive, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will meet Friday evening with a group of Hispanic and black pastors from around the country. The two will also attend a “listen and learn” dinner with local ministers.

Mr. Paul and Mr. Priebus announced the meeting at a joint press conference in Des Moines just before the scheduled dinner with the small group of pastors. Mr. Priebus described the occasion as yet another in a series of “listening sessions” he has held around the country to engage minority voters.


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The joint announcement followed a two-day meeting with some 500 pastors and their wives, most of them from Iowa. That event featured Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Mr. Paul, along with some of the best-known Protestant evangelical ministers and activists in America.

Mr. Cruz addressed a breakfast session Friday of the Iowa Renewal Project, headed by David Lane, a California-based evangelical founder of Pastors and Pews.

As it pertains to presidential ambitions, Mr. Paul has acknowledged an interest in seeking the 2016 GOP nomination.

Mr. Cruz has been more guarded in discussing a possible run but has been making appearances at GOP gatherings around the country — virtually around the clock when not voting in the Senate. Political observers see his schedule as a strong indicator he will make a run for the nomination in 2016.

Mr. Priebus said said he stayed in Iowa after the closing luncheon of Mr. Lane’s event in order to appear with Mr. Paul at the press briefing and to attend the dinner with Hispanic and black ministers. The RNC chairman said Iowa is “the place for retail politics,” and that the Republican party must learn how to reach out to minority voters, all while holding firm to the GOP’s tenants of individual freedom, free markets and equality of opportunity.