Food Impacts Iowa Campaigning Ahead of a debate among Democratic presidential contenders in Iowa, White House correspondent David Greene is on the road, talking to voters and sampling local cuisine. He talks with John Ydstie about the Democratic and GOP front-runners, and how food affects a candidate's image.
NPR logo

Food Impacts Iowa Campaigning

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/16804450/16804422" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Food Impacts Iowa Campaigning

Food Impacts Iowa Campaigning

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/16804450/16804422" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.