Clin­ton, Trump, San­ders cam­paign at Iowa fair

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY KEN THOMAS AND CATHER­INE LUCEY

U.S. rul­ing Demo­cratic Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary R. Clin­ton walked among the booths selling fun­nel cakes and corn dogs at the Iowa State Fair, trailed by a mas­sive pack of media and on­look­ers. Op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party can­di­date Don­ald Trump’s he­li­copter cir­cled the fair­grounds in the air above.

That’s as close as Clin­ton and Trump’s mas­sive en­tourages came Satur­day at the state fair, a rite of pas­sage for any pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in the cen­tral U.S. state whose cau­cuses next Fe­bru­ary are the first in the 2016 stateby-state nom­i­nat­ing con­tests.

The re­spec­tive party fron­trun­ners each drew large crowds of gawk­ers as Clin­ton sam­pled a pork chop on a stick and Trump gave rides to chil­dren on his he­li­copter em­bla­zoned with his fa­mous last name.

“Nice to be here!” Clin­ton said as she started an hour-long stroll across the fair­grounds. For­mer U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, who en­dorsed her this week, ac­com­pa­nied her. Ev­ery­where Clin­ton walked, large crowds fol­lowed her to get a pho­to­graph, a hand­shake or a quick hello.

Trump, who de­spite mak­ing waves this sum­mer amid a crowded Repub­li­can Party pri­mary con­test is still con­sid­ered a long­shot for nom­i­na­tion by the right-wing Repub­li­can Party, later made a grand en­trance, land­ing his he­li­copter in ath­letic fields about a mile ( 1.6 kilo­me­ters) away. He of­fered rides on the chop­per to chil­dren be­fore he came onto the grounds. Al­most im­me­di­ately Trump was crushed by mas­sive crowds seek­ing pho- tos, hand­shakes and yelling en­cour­age­ment. The pan­de­mo­nium fol­lowed him around for roughly an hour be­fore he hopped on a golf cart and was driven away.

“This is be­yond what I ex­pected. This is amaz­ing,” Trump said. “It’s been a day of love.”

Both Trump and Clin­ton avoided get­ting up on The Des Moines Register’s “soap­box,” a place where can­di­dates can de­liver re­marks and take ques­tions from fair­go­ers. A can­di­date can be cheered or jeered, depend­ing on the mood of the crowd and whether sup­port­ers or op­po­nents are on hand. In 2011 Repub­li­can can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney de­clared from the soap­box that “cor­po­ra­tions are peo­ple, my friend,” a line that dogged the for­mer pri­vate eq­uity ex­ec­u­tive dur­ing his 2012 cam­paign as the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee.

The front- run­ners weren’t the only ones seek­ing Iowans’ sup­port. Left-wing Bernie Sand- ers, who has be­come Clin­ton’s chief ri­val and has drawn tens of thou­sands to his ral­lies, pitched his poli­cies to counter eco­nomic in­equal­ity from The Des Moines Register’s “soap­box,” while for­mer Sen. Rick San­to­rum, who nar­rowly won the Iowa cau­cuses in 2012, donned a red em­broi­dered apron to flip pork burgers over siz­zling grills.

The state fair typ­i­cally draws around 90,000 peo­ple daily dur­ing its 11-day run ev­ery sum­mer, giv­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to meet po­ten­tial sup­port­ers for Iowa’s cau­cuses which play a piv­otal role in win­now­ing the pres­i­den­tial field.

In the Agri­cul­ture Build­ing, the for­mer U.S. sec­re­tary of state walked past plates of car­rots, beets and large cab­bages and peered at a pair of the fair’s fa­mous but­ter stat­ues — a cow and a trib­ute to the board game Mo­nop­oly.

Trump

took

ques­tions from re­porters be­fore he came to the fair­grounds and aimed barbs at fel­low can­di­dates while tout­ing his place atop the Repub­li­can polls. He said he was re­ject­ing cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from wealthy donors and was pre­pared to spend up to US$1 bil­lion on his cam­paign.

Trump has been crit­i­cized for not de­tail­ing his pol­icy po­si­tions, but on Satur­day he said he would soon re­lease a pol­icy pa­per on immigration.

AP

(Left) Rul­ing U.S. Demo­cratic Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Bernie San­ders, ges­tures as he speaks with a mi­cro­phone at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, Satur­day, Aug. 15, with a large crowd lis­ten­ing and watch­ing be­low his stage. (Cen­ter) Demo­cratic Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton waves to fair­go­ers dur­ing a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Satur­day. (Right) Op­po­si­tion U.S. Repub­li­can Party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump greets the crowd at the Iowa State Fair, Satur­day.

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