Iowa’s Republican governor was one of the moderators for Tuesday’s Republican presidential candidate forum in Pella and during the 90-minute event Terry Branstad touted some of his own actions as governor and told one candidate they had proposed the “boldest” approach to fixing the federal budget. 

“You can’t get low taxes unless you deal with the big problem, that’s big spending,” Ron Paul said during the forum. 

Branstad told Paul: “I think you’ve got the boldest plan to reduce the federal deficit. I think most Americans are scared to death.” 

Paul has proposed a plan to get rid of five federal agencies and trim a trillion dollars from the federal budget in one year.

Each candidate was given 15 minutes to answer questions. During Michele Bachmann’s time on stage, Branstad talked for nearly a minute about his own economic development experiences.

“When I was governor before, the Canadian dollar was worth 65-70 cents. Now it’s par with the American dollar. Their financial institutions are stronger and they’ve reduced their taxes,” Branstad said, as Bachmann repeated the phrase “That’s right” four times to punctuate his monologue. “What do you think we need to do to compete with Canada and other countries so we don’t have American companies moving their operations north of the border?”

Bachmann joked: “Well, you just explained why you got reelected, governor.” The audience laughed.

Branstad also asked several of the candidates if they support the renewable fuels standard which requires a certain amount of ethanol to be produced every year. After the event, Branstad said he was “not close” to making an endorsement in the presidential race.

“But I’m appreciative that they (Paul, Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum & Newt Gingrich) were here, that they spoke with conviction about changing the direction of this country,” Branstad said.

The governor said candidates Mitt Romney and Herman Cain made a mistake by skipping the event, which was held at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella.  The forum was broadcast on public television.