August 8th, 2008
02:35 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain visits the Iowa State Fair

McCain visited this giant hog, 'Freight Train', while touring the Iowa State Fair Swine Barn.

McCain visited this giant hog, 'Freight Train', while touring the Iowa State Fair Swine Barn.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - There were the familiar deep-fried candy bars, the colorful booths selling meats-on-sticks, and two hogs that weighed in at more than half a ton. But unlike the 2007 Iowa State Fair, which featured a posse of presidential hopefuls hunting for votes around nearly every corner, this year's event only saw one: John McCain.

The soon-to-be GOP nominee arrived in at the fair late Friday morning and first marched to one of his "favorite spots to visit in this whole fair," the vast and malodorous Swine Barn, where he observed "Freight Train," a champion Yorkshire boar from Webster City that weighs 1,259 pounds. The hog slept through McCain's visit.

McCain shook hands with Iowans and moved on to the fabled soapbox area of the fair grounds, a humble patch of grass surrounded by hay bales that's reserved for politicians, but which didn't actually feature a soapbox.

"This is what America is all about," he said. "This is the people I want to know and meet. And when the rigors of a presidential campaign, people talk about it, I get a chance to come here and meet and greet the real America. The people that are providing products all over this world, all over the world."

McCain's week has been built around similarly picturesque events that conjure Americana: he spoke at a massive biker rally in South Dakota on Monday, attended college football practice in West Virginia on Wednesday, and held a town hall meeting in Ohio on Thursday, during which he repeatedly praised the fortitude and optimism of the nation's heartland.

At the state fair, where corn takes center stage, McCain re-iterated his long-standing opposition to ethanol subsidies. But he did promise to "make sure that every market in the world is open to your products," taking time to heap praise on the state's pork industry.

"This agricultural products in the state of Iowa can feed the world and we're not afraid to compete with anybody in the world, my friends," he said.

McCain said we are facing an "energy crisis" and touted his plans for expanding nuclear energy and allowing offshore oil drilling, a pair of proposals that earned him loud applause from onlookers.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. R.I.F.

    ..."The hog slept through McCain's visit."

    LOL!!!! Smart pig. Im sure he's up to his pig ears in hearing DRILL DRILL DRILL.

    August 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Morgan

    When McCain does another ad about Obama as the biggest celebrity in Iowa he can superimpose Freight Train the hog onto the videos of Obama. So this was actually a "fact finding mission." Snooze on Freight Train, we are not interested in the old white haired dude either.

    August 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Reid, Iowa State University

    These comments are harsh. And about the energy crisis, what's wrong with nuclear energy? I think it's a great idea. What is ironic are all these liberals complaining that we have to shift to cleaner, alternative energies, but yet don't seriously ever consider one of the cleanest (and actually nowadays VERY safe), cheap, and efficient energies in nuclear power.

    McCain, you are welcome to visit Iowa anytime even if some of your audience consists of swine (not just talking about the picture either!)

    August 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Tom Williams

    Sen McCain is out there where the average joe is; not lordly parading around refusing to touch common people.

    August 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. NoMccain

    He's going to the heart of rural America, isn't he? He's not trying to hide his targeting of a specific type of audience.

    August 8, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. ANGIE

    Well first the bike rally offering his wife to be a buffalo chip, Now the fair people are trying to have a good time not listen to him pander and lie look even the pig went to sleep!!!

    August 8, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. prairieguy

    McCain with the pigs...seems appropriate to me since he is one of them!

    August 8, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. fella from Chicago

    Nice photo of Senator Edwards, or is it Obama? Hard to tell with the face buried half in mud.

    August 8, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    Doing anything to keep form talking about the issues. Gas, economy, energy crisis, jobs, The SURGE............

    Whatever, McCain..................LIER!

    August 8, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. jen

    I guess the McCain isn't the only ones in the mud

    August 8, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. tigerakabj

    Funny, even the pig goes to sleep listening to John bumble around about his non-existent energy policy.

    McSenile, just hand the election over to Barack. You don't want to lose your temper in front of 80 million people during the debates.

    Obama/Sebelius 2008/2012.

    August 8, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Ivy979

    Tucker Bounds said you'll flourish with the media all to yourself next week. We'll see...nice start by the way.

    Hereeeeeee's Johnny!!!!!

    August 8, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. chrisrhoades

    Funny thing is that McCain bailed out on the Iowa State Fair and the Iowa Straw Poll last year this time as did Guiliani as they didn't think they could win...And thus launched Huckabee's feeble campaign.

    August 8, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Dan , TX

    McCain is lying about his tax plan. People making less than $200,000 a year will pay more taxes under his plan than Obama's.

    Obama will not increase capital gains taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year.

    On the other hand, McCain has a bigger budget deficit than Obama. Why does McCain's plan lead to a bigger budget deficit? Because he cuts taxes so much for people making over $3 Million a year that their incomes go up 11% from the tax breaks!

    That includes health care plans – Obama's plan covers 33 Million. McCain's covers 2 million. Obama's costs only slightly more than McCain's. Because McCain's plan actually gives money to people who already have insurance so they can get out of employer sponsored insurance. This is a huge benefit to businesses – don't need to pay for employee insurance any more. It's just that we'll have just as many uninsured....

    August 8, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Brad, IA

    Didn't Mc*insert snarky name for cliched insult* say that the Sturgis rally was, "what America is all about?" Do you just say that about anything that happens in the Midwest, be it a family-oriented farmfest or a traditionally lewd gathering of leather-clad individuals? Meh, it's nice to be talked about once every four years.

    August 8, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. TN for Obama

    McSame....Yeah...when PIGS FLY

    August 8, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Obama supporter: Dula Citizen Living in Canada

    "picturesque"??? Would have been interesting to see how many fair goers stayed for his speech!!

    August 8, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    After opposing the ag subvention bill he comes around to to watch farmers sob.Even the pig was conscious of this joke.

    August 8, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Jos/TN

    is that him lying in the dirt

    August 8, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Brian

    McCain even puts the hogs to sleep.

    August 8, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. RealityKing

    McCain is the only one promising not to spend our money on the pig...

    August 8, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Bob Bakh

    One story with Obama, and you have a picture of him in front of an American Flag, next story about McCain, and you have a picture of a pig in mud. No that's not biased, You're not even trying to hide it anymore.

    August 8, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. MikeH

    Resembles one of McCain's donors.

    August 8, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. Ivee

    His comments didn't even make any sense! And it's interesting how he horns in on events that draw large crowds who are not there to see him. Guess he thinks that people don't notice.... We do.

    August 8, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. kim hussein smith

    notice they cant run a picture of the crowd--the 15 people standing there with their arms folded across their chests!!

    as opposed to obama who is drawing record crowds in this country and around the world. people arent going to see obama b/c they think he's a "celebrity", people are going to see obama b/c of what he says, and what he wants for this country.

    i dont know how McOutsource has the nerve to even talk to americans, spouting off his silly neoCON lies and misinformation!! "my friends", yeah right, not ONE of your friends was there, McLobbyist, that's for sure. john mccain is no friend to americans, in iowa or any other state!

    August 8, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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