The state fair is all about riding the Ferris wheel and the scrambler (according to my childhood memories, at least). It's about eating funnel cake and paying too much money in an attempt to win cheap teddy bears. However, these days, it's also about presidential candidates who desperately want midwestern middle-class voters to like them. Over the weekend at the Iowa State Fair, candidates engaged in some unusual behavior to woo the early-voting state's fairgoers.
The Iowa State Fair attracts a huge number of people, who are usually there for the fun, and not political tension. According to the event's website, 1,109,150 attended in 2008. Lasting 11 days, the Des Moines fair creates a level of exposure that you aren't likely to find anywhere else in early-voting states.
The 2016 presidential candidates weren't content to simply meet Iowans and shake a few hundred hands. The hopefuls really played the part of friendly politicians who love a fried Oreo and octopus ride as much as the next blue-collar country music fan. They smiled and orchestrated perfect photo ops, always ready for the next gimmick or joke.
There is such a thing as trying too hard. Most of the politicians seemed unnatural as they fought one another for public attention and space. Here are eight odd political moments from the fair:
Hillary Clinton Ate Pork On A Stick
I imagine a campaign staffer saying, "You should eat something here. If you don't eat that pork on a stick, I'm making you try the chili dog." However, she did praise the pork.
Donald Trump Flew In On His Helicopter
Because a tractor just doesn't have the same effect.
Ben Carson Drew Big Crowds
Step right up! Step right up! See the crazy neurosurgeon try to rap, talk about something called the "Detroit strut," and make a ton of references to the brain. Only 25 cents for this freak show!
George Pataki Talked About New York — Again
Pataki has been trailing behind some of his more headline-grabbing competitors. It might have to do with the fact that he constantly brings up his leadership in New York during 9/11, one of the only things for which he is known.
Jeb Bush Ate A Deep-Fried Snickers
This is another example of a candidate desperately trying to gain attention by eating the "local food." I hope they had a bucket ready for when he spat it out.
Packers Fans Showed Up For Scott Walker
The Wisconsin governor attracted the support of a few "cheeseheads." They probably got roughed up by some die-hard Hawkeyes fans.
Trump Told A Kid He Was Batman
Trump offered rides to children in his private helicopter. A boy asked if he were the Caped Crusader, and The Donald replied, "I am Batman."
Bernie Sanders Jabbed Trump
Sanders was ready when Trump captured all the fanfare with his helicopter rides. According to NPR, he said, "I apologize, we left the helicopter at home. It's in the garage." All just another day at the fair.