The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens


President picks and chooses food at Iowa State Fair

Presidential candidates are known for being unable to turn down any food and gaining weight on the campaign trial, but President Barack Obama proved at the Iowa State Fair Monday that he can delay gratification for the food and drink he really wants and continued that pattern today.

Arriving at the Iowa State Fair at 7:24 p.m. CDT, Obama bought a ticket for the fair and made his way past several food stands, including Ginnie Smith’s Gourmet Mini Cinnamon Rolls, which advertised it is “not just for breakfast anymore,” according to the White House pool report.

Cookie Smith, 16, asked Obama, “Will you have some?” But he declined, saying “I’m saving my space for pork chop on a stick.”

Across the street, he also declined a Smoothie, saying, “Smoothie sounds OK, but a beer sounds better,” he said.

After responding to volunteers and admirers and greeting the Iowa State Fair queen, Abrah Meyer, 17, of Readlyn, Iowa, in crown, sash, necklace, pin and royal purple dress, Obama reached the beer tent where, according to the pool report, “a rowdy crowd” was chanting “Four more years!” while the president walked over and started shaking hands. One person in the crowd had a Romney sign.

Mike Cunningham, 47, whose family has owned the Bud Tent since 1947, awaited, ready to pour the president a beer. Cunningham had told reporters that business had been going good until around 5 p.m. when the Secret Service shut him down in advance of the president’s arrival. When Obama came over, he said, “Hey, everyone who’s over 21, you gotta buy a beer!”

Someone yelled, “Is it on you?”

“Let me see what’s in my wallet," Obama said, and peered into his wallet, the pool reporter said.

As the crowd started chanting, “four more beers,” Obama said, “I’ll tell you what, except for Romney sign, I’ll buy beers for 10 people.”

Then he plunged back into the beer crowd. On his way back to Cunningham, Obama was stopped by Greg Lear, president-elect of the Iowa Pork Producers, who handed him a plate — not a stick — of two fat juicy-looking pork chops.

Obama said, “Hey, here’s my pork on a stick!”

Obama made it back to Cunningham, who gave him a beer and a T shirt saying “save water, drink beer,” and took a picture with him.

Obama took his pork chops to the stand to eat, then turned around and yelled out, “Someone’s gotta have a knife and fork!”

At this point the White House press pool “was hustled off,” the pool report concluded.

Early today, Obama worked out at a health club named Aspen Active near his hotel in Des Moines before traveling to Knoxville, where he stopped at the Coffee Connection, a popular local coffee shop owned by a Mary Raymie, a Republican running for county supervisor.

According to the pool report, Obama got into a conversation about brewing beer at the White House. One customer wanted a White House beer and Obama had one brought in from his traveling van known as Ground Force One.

Obama stood next to a sign promoting flavored candy bar lattes made with Snickers, Butterfinger, Heath Bars and Almond Joy, but he ordered a coffee and an iced tea.

Obama did buy muffins and a cinnamon roll, saying “ ‘cause I got people on the bus.”

Twice Obama asked the other patrons of the restaurant “Anybody need anything?,” and the second time a patron yelled back, “cinnamon roll.”

Obama said he was afraid he'd just taken the last one, but the owner said there were more, and Obama called out: “It turns out we have more cinnamon rolls, so you’re in luck.”

Obama paid a bill of $12.31 and went outside and worked a rope line of about 30 people while he held a small white paper bag and a large coffee cup.

This evening, after traveling through several small towns, Ground Force One arrived in Cedar Falls and Obama headed into The Pump Haus, a pub and grill.

“Hi guys!,” he called out to the crowd gathered on the sidewalk waiting for him.
“I''m just about as close as I get to home ... we’re gonna drive right up to the border to Quad Cities. I'm thinking I should order my beer and come back and talk.”

Obama chatted with bar owners Bruce and Johna Petersen and their 3-year-old son Keifer, and then went to the bar, ordered a Bud Lite, and started chatting with some guys at the bar. Keifer ran up to Obama and started jumping. “Hey man,” the president said, patting his head.

The boy ran to his mom and said “I’m a man!” and demanded to be taken outside to see the presidential bus.

The bartender told Obama his beer was on the house, but Obama said “no, no, no.”

John Brooks, a patron sitting in a booth dining with his wife Lisa and 5-year-old twins, muttered: “It’s like a traveling zoo.”

Brooks, pressed by the pool reporter, said he’s an undecided voter who supported Obama in 2008.

Asked if Romney can win his vote, he said: “Not after his v.p. pick.”