(CNN) - Rep. Paul Ryan called on the Republican Party to unify in a speech Friday, saying it should "give up the infighting" for Lent.
Addressing an Iowa crowd in the pivotal caucus state's GOP Lincoln Dinner, the potential 2016 presidential candidate said Iowa can do the country a favor in the 2014 midterm election "by delivering another Senate seat and by sending more conservatives to Congress."
Amid a heated primary battle on the Republican side to fill the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, Ryan called on the Hawkeye State Republicans to coalesce around whoever the party picks in the June primary.
"Let's give up the infighting. Let's give up the tunnel vision. Let's give up the acrimony," the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee said.
"The left loves to say that our party is in this big civil war, that we’re tearing each other apart."
While there's a crowded field vying for the GOP nomination, Democratic candidate and state Rep. Bruce Braley faces no serious opposition for his party's nomination. Braley, however, sparked controversy in the state recently after a video clip showed him warning that a Republican takeover of the Senate could leave the GOP's Sen. Chuck Grassley – "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" – in charge of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.
At the event, Ryan joked, "Imagine what Chuck Grassley would have done with his life if only he had a law degree."
The Budget Committee chairman's keynote address comes one day after the House approved Ryan's 2015 budget proposal amid protests from some conservatives who argue his plan is not aggressive enough in slashing the size of the federal government.
CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.
I thought only Catholics observe Lent. I know some of these conservatives wish to roll back the clock several hundred years, but now it appears they want to go back even further, before the Reformation. Not a big surprise, as many of their attitudes are medieval.
@Pete: "How can a hypocric like Ryan talk about religion when he was an Ayn Rand diciple and wasn't she an atheist and didn't believe in government interfering in indiviguals lives..Come on republicans your reps can do better than that being hypocrics can't they..."
Rand was also a narcissist, self-centered, intolerant, atheist woman who thought only the wealthy had any real value and was utterly lacking in compassion. She believed that altruism is foolish, and the pursuit of money is the only worthwhile endeavor. She was also a libertine – something in direct contrast to Ryan's (and the gop's) desire to control women and their bodies.
Ryan holds up Ayn Rand as his hero. People really ought to read up on the woman – she was quite the piece of ... work.
Speaking of Ryan's love of Ayn Rand, she would not have supported him or the gop and their desire to control women's bodies (she was quite liberated, if you know what I mean). But then again, she would fit right in with the hypocrisy of today's "family values" party: She had an affair with one of her married followers for 25 YEARS.
Mr. Ryan- a far more constructive thought:
How about giving up religion for Lent? It isn't like you actually believe any of that stuff anyway, and besides, as a nation we believe in the separation of Church and State- so stop hiding behind the "sincerely held beliefs" of others and get to work for a change?
The fact that senator Grassley never went to law school does not worry me half as much as the fact he is the "senator of Archer Daniels Midland" before he is the senator of Iowa.
Paul Ryan get a real job. Never worked a day in his life at any real job.