- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 24, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa — Rep. Steve King called on God Saturday to help the GOP nominate a 2016 presidential candidate that will “restore the soul” of the United States.

“I pray that out of this process you identify and lift up the individual you will use to restore the soul of this great country,” the congressman from Iowa said. “Thank you Lord, and God bless America.”

The seven term lawmaker has become one of the more polarizing figures on Capitol Hill on the issue of immigration, but he is a favorite among grassroots conservatives here in Iowa and elsewhere, who say he fights for them.
His star power is on display here at the Iowa Freedom Summit that he is co-hosting with Citizens United.

The conservative confab is widely viewed as the beginning of the Republican nomination race that will kick off just over a year from now with the Iowa caucuses.

It has drawn 1,200 activists and a number of likely GOP presidential contenders, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

Other guests include: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Texas gov. Rick Perry; Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa caucuses; and famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, and Donal Trump are also scheduled to speak.

Mr. King was introduced to the crowd with the theme song from the movie “Rocky” and urged the crowd to help elect a full spectrum conservative who will defend the U.S. Constitution.

He challenged the emerging field of GOP candidates to pledge to repeal Obamacare, push to abolish the IRS and demand a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Mr. King also said the party’s next standard-bearer should lay out a plan for defeating Islamic militants in the Middle East.

“Layout a plan to defeat radical Islamic jihad,” Mr. King said. “Lay out that plan that defeats them within four to eight years, and defats them for the next 100 years. It can be done.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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