MASON CITY, Iowa — Gov. Terry Branstad was in Mason City Wednesday to rally the Republican faithful, and he brought a lot of help with him.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Secretary of State Paul Pate and Barbara Grassley, wife of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, all took part in the event at GOP headquarters. Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, and Iowa House candidate Barb Hovland, Cerro Gordo County GOP chairwoman, also were in attendance.
Branstad sounded more like a presidential candidate as he took aim at the Obama administration in his remarks.
He said Obama opposed the renewable fuel standard and has supported more regulatory power of the Environmental Protection Agency.
"The EPA is basically regulating mud puddles now," he said.
Branstad said the Affordable Care Act, which he referred to as Obamacare, has driven up the costs of health care, "and with Hillary, it will only get worse," he said. He predicted some of the costs will double in the next five years.
He said that when Ronald Reagan was president, foreign powers had respect for the United States. It led to the dissolving of the Soviet Union and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
"In the last eight years, Russia is on the rebound and has no fear of us," Branstad said.
He also cited North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, the growth of ISIS in the Middle East, the "idle threat" of drawing a line in the sand in Syria and the nuclear deal with Iran — "possibly the worst deal of all time" — as failures of the Obama administration.
On the state level, he said that when he took office, he inherited what he called the "Culver-Judge debt scheme" in which costly programs had no paybacks.
"Money that could have gone towards things like water quality and other issues was used to pay off the debt," Branstad said.
He talked about a clean water bill passed in the Republican-controlled House in the last session but never came to a vote in the Senate. He said Senate action was blocked by Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, who he said is in a tough re-election fight this year.
About 25 people were in attendance.