JOHN YDSTIE, Host:
And to truly cover the campaign, our own David Greene has done the same.
DAVID GREENE: The fair is great. I am standing among some of the rides; there's a big balloon of a dinosaur, and there's a lot of good carnival food - popcorn, candy apple, snow cones, and a lot of political candidates.
KIM WHALEN: It's this real, real fine loose meat sandwich, and everybody seems to love it with mustard and pickle on it because that's what the tradition's been.
GREENE: All right, I'll take it with mustard and pickle.
WHALEN: Whalen owns The Machine Shed - it's a farm-themed restaurant and country store along Interstate 80. If you come here, you can enjoy a plate of their famous stuffed pork loin and even go for a tractor ride out in the parking lot.
YDSTIE: David, what's on the menu?
GREENE: And, you know, it's funny, food is no joke. I don't know if you remember John Kerry when he was running for president, he went into Philadelphia and he ordered a cheese stake with Swiss cheese, which is a huge no-no when you're in south Philly, and he took a lot of flack for that. So, you know, in the next month or so leading up to the Iowa caucuses, a food mistake looms as a possible danger for these candidates.
YDSTIE: So, David, what's the political talk in the diners? Are Iowans talking about the Republican debate in Florida earlier this week?
GREENE: So that's one issue; the other was guns. One of the questions the other night in the Republican debate for the candidates was, do you own a gun? And a lot of Iowa voters here say, they don't really care if the candidates own a gun at home, what they do care about is where the candidates stand on Second Amendment, and whether that means Americans have the right to own a gun.
YDSTIE: Well, the Democrats are all in Iowa today for a debate tonight. Bring us up-to-date on that side of the field, is it still really tied at the top?
GREENE: When you talk to a lot of people here in Iowa in the diners, on the streets, and some of them say, you know, I like Bill Richardson, I like Joe Biden, but I know they might not get the support, and then I have to make a second decision that night, who do I vote for? Hillary Clinton? Barack Obama? John Edwards? So the polls might not be telling the whole story at this point - if there's going to some of that movement on caucus night. And Iowans love to say that they're ready to offer a surprise to the rest of the country. So we've got a month; we'll see what happens.
YDSTIE: NPR's David Greene, who's now two sizes bigger than he was when the campaign started, speaking with us from the Bluegrass Cafe in Tama, Iowa. Enjoy your sandwich, David.
GREENE: Thank you, John. I'll bring you some back.
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