How the Iowa State Fair Became a Key Campaign Stop

August 9, 2019

Cheddar's JD Durkin explains how the Iowa State Fair became a crucial campaign stop for Presidential candidates.


Speaker 1: The Iowa State Fair celebrates

Speaker 1: its one one hundred and sixty fifth anniversary in 2019,

Speaker 1: but it hasn't always been the political

Speaker 1: beacon that it is today.

Speaker 1: A lot of that has to do with just how Iowa casts

Speaker 1: the first votes in the nation

Speaker 1: in every presidential election.

Speaker 1: You may have heard that Iowa is a caucus state.

Speaker 1: And to learn just why,

Speaker 1: you'll have to go back to the year 1968 after

Speaker 1: massive anti-war protests pushed for

Speaker 1: a one person one vote style primary process.

Speaker 1: The Democratic Party did some soul searching and

Speaker 1: decided to reform its primary elections.

Speaker 1: But while most states shifted to

Speaker 1: a traditional voting primary,

Speaker 1: Iowa Democrats chose to caucus and it stuck.

Speaker 1: In a caucus, unlike a primary,

Speaker 1: voter sit together and discuss

Speaker 1: a candidate's viability to be their next elected leader.

Speaker 1: So face time with

Speaker 1: that candidate could make a big difference.

Speaker 1: That's what brings us to the Iowa State Fair.

Speaker 1: Candidates will need to dedicate

Speaker 1: time to take in the sights,

Speaker 1: eat the fried food and visit

Speaker 1: the butter cow to appeal to the voters here.

Speaker 1: The Fair might seem like a

Speaker 1: surprising place to find politics,

Speaker 1: but it does have a history of stirring up the race

Speaker 1: for those coveted commit to caucus cards.

Speaker 1: Take former Tennessee Senator,

Speaker 1: Fred Thompson's last minute bid for

Speaker 1: the GOP nomination in 2007.

Speaker 1: He had stumped for working class individuals in

Speaker 1: his days as a senator and as a candidate,

Speaker 1: but things took a quick change

Speaker 1: when he showed up at the Fair,

Speaker 1: and what a TV reporter noted as Gucci loafers.

Speaker 2: And the occasional slip up like wearing

Speaker 2: Gucci loafers at a country Fair.

Speaker 1: Thompson later explained that it was a pair

Speaker 1: of Salvatore Ferragamo slippers,

Speaker 1: but you get the point.

Speaker 1: His campaign was crushed.

Speaker 1: And in 2003, then Senator John Kerry

Speaker 1: fell flat on a wide variety of issues,

Speaker 1: from ordering a strawberry smoothie with

Speaker 1: an umbrella to asking a new resident for

Speaker 1: Massachusetts who moved to Iowa why he

Speaker 1: hadn't made the move, jokingly. [APPLAUSE]

Speaker 3: The road ahead is long but we will reach victory.

Speaker 3: Let's go out there and win this nomination.

Speaker 3: We're in the presidency,

Speaker 3: send George Bush back to Texas and we will hold

Speaker 3: up a sign that says 'Mission Accomplished'.

Speaker 1: Perhaps no candidate's campaign struggled as much as

Speaker 1: Mitt Romney's after his Iowa State Fair appearance.

Speaker 1: A group of hecklers interrupted his soapbox speech,

Speaker 1: and Romney's response was

Speaker 1: perceived as less than tasteful.

Speaker 3: Social Security, Medicaid and

Speaker 3: Medicare are promises we can keep.

Speaker 3: And there are various ways of doing that.

Speaker 3: One is we can raise taxes on people [OVERLAPPING].

Speaker 4: Cooperation.

Speaker 5: Cooperation.

Speaker 4: Cooperation. Take time, great cooperation.

Speaker 6: In 2015, Donald Trump stole the show.

Speaker 1: Donald Trump arrived at

Speaker 1: the Iowa State Fair like a billionaire would.

Speaker 7: The only presidential candidate

Speaker 7: to arrive in a helicopter.

Speaker 1: A never before seen Iowa attraction.

Speaker 8: Who wants to go first?

Speaker 1: Even though President Trump will not be

Speaker 1: enjoying the Fried Twinkies this year,

Speaker 1: one candidate who may be experiencing

Speaker 1: deja vu is 2020 front runner Joe Biden.

Speaker 1: Biden's first run for president in 1988 struggled

Speaker 1: during the Iowa State Fair after a plagiarism scandal.

Speaker 4: Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in

Speaker 4: his family ever to go to a university?

Speaker 4: Why is that my wife is sitting out there in the audience,

Speaker 4: is the first in her family to ever go to college.

Speaker 4: People in Britain would have been

Speaker 4: familiar with those words,

Speaker 4: they heard the same ones in

Speaker 4: a political commercial from

Speaker 4: Labor Party leader, Neil Kinnock.

Speaker 9: Where am I? The first candidate

Speaker 9: in a thousand generation

Speaker 9: to be able to get to the university,

Speaker 9: [inaudible 00:03:24] is the first woman

Speaker 9: in her family in a thousand generation.

Speaker 10: Biden saw that Kinnock commercial and evidently loved it.

Speaker 1: The scandal sent Biden back to

Speaker 1: Washington hopeless of a presidential victory

Speaker 1: sitting out for over two decades

Speaker 1: before running again in 2008.

Speaker 1: He's back at the State Fair this year

Speaker 1: hoping his third time is the charm.

Speaker 1: So while Cable news viewers will be tuning in

Speaker 1: to experience the Fair from a far,

Speaker 1: for Iowa caucus goers it's all

Speaker 1: about having the candidates up close and

Speaker 1: personal and figuring out who to pick on

Speaker 1: February 3rd 2020. [MUSIC]