Freshman Sen. Joni Ernst, whose first "Roast and Ride" event attracted most of the 2016 major GOP presidential candidates
to Iowa this weekend, has a piece of advice for those seeking the nomination: Show leadership.
"They need to show with that leadership that there is a direction that our country needs to go in, whether that is as a world leader or whether it's a leader here in the United States with our economy or education system," the Iowa Republican told CNN's "State of the Union"
"Whatever it is, they just need to show that they are willing to take on the mantle and go forward," she continued.
Ernst's event featured a pig roast, speeches from seven 2016 hopefuls and a 38-mile motorcycle ride, which did attract Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to ride along. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was at the event later in the day, held his own bike run from nearby Perry, Iowa.
The event proved to be a prime political gathering for Republicans, despite Ernst's short time in the Senate. She became a national name last year following a commercial in which she compared cutting government pork to castrating hogs and saying she was afraid of neither.
Ernst said on Sunday's show that she has no 2016 presidential aspirations of her own, and there is no particular candidate she is endorsing. She said her constituents are telling her that jobs and the economy are extremely important.
"Of course we have a wonderful agricultural economy, a manufacturing base here in Iowa, so we have done very well," Ernst said. "We have good leadership, though, in the state that allows those businesses to thrive."
Iowans are looking for a candidate who understands jobs and the economy and that the nation needs to be strong on national defense, she continued.
Iowa has backed President Barack Obama in the past two presidential elections, even though it has two Republicans senators and a Republican governor, and Ernst believes that it is possible that a Republican can take the state in 2016.
"My election shows that," she said. "When you have troubled times, people look for a strong leader that will move the nation in the right direction. That's what we are seeing. We are in troubled times right now, around the world, and we need a leader that will keep us safe and move forward."
Ernst further commented on statements Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton had said in Iowa while campaigning for Ernst's Senate race opponent, about that it is not enough to be a woman when it comes to winning a race.
"You have to care about women's issues," said Ernst, throwing the former Secretary of State's words back at her. "Women's issues here in Iowa is that we have a strong economy, and we have jobs that our sons and daughters can go off to some day and we have a great educational system and women want strong senate defense ... you have to be a leader with a vision, and you have to show Iowans you want it."
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