News / USA

Republican Presidential Candidates Push for Votes Ahead of Poll

A crowd walks along part of the fair grounds at the Iowa State Fair, in the state capital Des Moines, August 12, 2011
A crowd walks along part of the fair grounds at the Iowa State Fair, in the state capital Des Moines, August 12, 2011

The Iowa State Fair is an annual August tradition in the central U.S. state. It is a chance to showcase Iowa’s agricultural products and traditions in a distinctly American atmosphere. It is also the closest many voters can get to candidates on the campaign trail. Reaching out to voters at the state fair is a rite of passage for candidates hoping to do well in the Iowa Straw Poll.

Since the first Iowa Straw Poll - held in Ames in 1979 - the Iowa State Fair in the capitol Des Moines, with it’s carnival rides and wide variety of fried food booths, has been a critical campaign stop for candidates hoping to emerge as the frontrunner.

“It’s probably easier to have access to candidates here in Des Moines Iowa than it is in New York City or Washington D.C.  It’s an amazing place,” said Des Moines native Marc Daniels. He has watched his relatively small Midwestern state evolve into a major political testing ground that can now make or break a Presidential candidate’s national campaign.

”Candidates get an opportunity to fine tune their message, and to sharpen it. They get an opportunity to find out whether what they are talking about is what people want to hear. It gives them an opportunity to practice their rhetoric for later speeches,” said Daniels.

Practicing for those speeches at the fair takes place on a “soapbox,” in this case large bails of hay, surrounded by crowds of interested voters.

Often well attended by supporters of the candidate speaking, it is open to everyone. As former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney discovered, that includes detractors.

“What are you going to do to strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, without cutting benefits?" asked one spectator.

“All right, let’s get his answer, let’s get his answer. You’ve had your chance, anything else you want to say?” replied Romney.

“I want to see what your gonna say,” said the man.

“The way this is going to work is you got to give your question, and now I’m going to give my answer. And if you don’t like my answer, you can vote for someone else. But now it’s my turn to give my answer. You ready for my answer? I’m not going to raise taxes! That’s my answer! I’m not going to raise taxes!” said Romney.

The Iowa State Fair has a family atmosphere, and many candidates attend with their loved ones in tow.

Linda Paul is hundreds of miles away from her home state of Texas. Even though it’s her first trip to the fair, she said it is somewhat familiar.

“This is my first time in Iowa. A lot of corn was my first impression. The state fair honestly reminds me a little bit of home with our state fairs and everything,” she said.

Paul is at the fair to help her grandfather, Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, get the votes he needs to do well in the Straw Poll.

Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, in the state capital Des Moines, August 12, 2011
Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks to a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, in the state capital Des Moines, August 12, 2011

“It’s very important for him to come out, talk to his supporters, talk to some that are undecided. Tell them his message. He won’t tell them something to win his vote. He’s going to tell them the truth and what he truly believes in,” she said.

That message resonates with Benjamin Adair, who came to show his support for Ron Paul. He said campaigns like Paul’s tend to get more traction in Iowa because of its size.

“If you’re a smaller candidate that doesn’t have as much money, I think Iowa is a good place. It’s cheaper to buy ads, easier to travel across and talk to people,” said Adair.

Adair said regardless of who wins the Straw Poll on August 13, he believes Ron Paul’s campaign will benefit from the time he has invested campaigning here.


Kane Farabaugh

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs