Iowa Freedom Summit Remarks
by nathanhurst

The 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit aired all day Saturday on C-SPAN and, as a number of potential Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls and other party luminaries gathered in the state capital of Des Moines.

Representative Steve King (R-IA), one of the summit's co-sponsors, delivered his opening remarks shortly after 10 a.m. ET, following the summit's start.

He was followed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R), who told attendees the event was the official kick-off of the 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa, which is slated to hold its caucuses in early February 2016. The governor later took questions from reporters on the 2016 field. 

Iowa's senior senator, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), also addressed the crowd, and toward the end of his remarks touched on his new role as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other speakers include:

-- Jim DeMint, the former Republican senator from South Carolina who left his office to take over as president of The Heritage Foundation. He talked about the need for conservatives to continue building a broader coalition for their policy ideals ahead of the 2016 election. Later, he addressed reporters and talked about a number of policy issues, including President Obama's recent executive action on immigration. 

-- Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC). He told attendees to act with "boldness" on policy issues. 

-- Representative Rod Blum (R-IA). During his remarks, he talked about his vote against Representative John Boehner (R-OH) in his reelection bid to be Speaker of the House.

-- Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), who said conservatives need to continue their electoral momentum from 2014 into the 2016 campaigns. 

-- Neurosurgeon and conservative author Dr. Ben Carson, who connected his upbringing and life experiences to his current conservative views. He later addressed reporters, and talked about a number of policy issues including immigration, education, and same-sex marriage.

-- Businessman and TV personality Donald Trump, who said potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates and former governors Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Mitt Romney (R-MA) shouldn't run. He later expanded on his comments during a news conference with reporters.  

-- Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who touched on her state-level efforts to end the income tax in Tennessee. 

-- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), who talked about his experience changing public sector union laws in his state. 

-- Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore (R), who focused on his experience in office and American exceptionalism. 

-- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who focused on national security issues and foreign relations. 

-- John Bolton, one of President George W. Bush's ambassadors to the United Nations, focused his address on national security and U.S. military activity abroad. He later took questions from reporters

-- Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) urged Republican potential 2016 presidential candidates to develop "unapologetically conservative" platforms on which to run.

-- Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) focused his comments on the traditional nuclear family and a condemnation of fundamental Islam. At a later news conference with reporters, he answered questions on his stances on gay marriage, abortion, and other issues.

-- Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) urged conservatives at the conference to build a coalition of voters who "believe in the miracle of America." Later, he told reporters he belives the 2016 presidential election will mirror President Ronald Reagan's decisive victory in 1980.

-- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) fielded questions from reporters about the Republican 2016 presidential field before he took to the stage. 

-- Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who unsuccessfully challenged Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in 2010, criticized potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton in her remarks. She was later asked about those comments when talking to reporters following her address. 

-- Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R).

-- Texas Governor Rick Perry (R).

-- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R).