Rand Paul kicked off his first event in Iowa this year with a rally that let him blaze through his favorite libertarian-leaning talking points and draw a contrast between himself and his potential Republican rivals.

“You’re going to get a choice on who the nominee is for the Republican Party. You’re going to have 9, 10, 15, 20 who are eager to go and want troops on the ground,” he said, talking about the war against Islamic extremism. “They want 100,000 troops on the ground. Right now. In all the countries.”

The Kentucky Republican had a rough week but found a friendly audience Friday night headlining an “Audit the Fed” rally at Jasper Winery in Des Moines, an event packed with many of his father’s supporters and hosted by a group called Liberty Iowa.

It was a curious strategy for a man who’s trying to build a broad coalition of voters behind him, but he assured supporters that he hasn’t strayed far from his roots.

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