"It's been seven years, and a lot has changed," Hillary Clinton said Sunday in her first visit to Iowa since the state dealt her presidential campaign a devastating body blow.
But there was a moment in the afternoon when it seemed like not much had.
Roughly 200 credentialed media were gathered in a far corner of the Indianola Balloon Field, the grassy expanse where Sen. Tom Harkin was convening his 37th and final Steak Fry, an annual fundraiser that doubles as a point of entry for ambitious Democrats curious about the Iowa caucuses.
After a 90-minute wait, the press scrum - scribblers and photographers alike - were herded like cattle through a series of gates and escorted up to a hot smoking grill, waiting to capture the same image: a staged shot of Bill and Hillary Clinton, fresh out of their motorcade, ritualistically flipping steaks with Harkin.
The Clintons ignored the half-hearted shouted questions from reporters - "Mr. President, do you eat meat?" - with practiced ease. They were two football fields away from the nearest voter. Mechanical, distant, heavy-handed: The afternoon spectacle felt a lot like Hillary's 2008 caucus campaign, a succession of errors that crumbled under the weight of a feuding top-heavy staff and the candidate's inability to connect with her party's grassroots.
And then the head fake - and something different.
(CNN) - A little more than two months before Election Day, Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, stepped down Friday, resigning amid a long-brewing controversy involving Benton's ties to Ron Paul's presidential bid in 2012.
"With a heavy heart, I offered Sen. McConnell my resignation this afternoon and he reluctantly accepted," Benton said in a statement issued by McConnell's campaign. "Effective Saturday, August 30th, I will no longer be the 'Team Mitch' campaign manager."
(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul on Friday defended his criticism of Hillary Clinton over the 2012 attack against a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The Kentucky Republican, rebutting claims that Benghazi criticism is "politically motivated," said Clinton's handling of the attack was a legitimate topic of discussion as she considers a presidential bid.
Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton has been able to exist slightly above politics for the last six years.
That will soon be coming to an end.
Clinton, the former secretary of state and frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, has committed to play a sizable role in fundraising for the party ahead of the 2014 elections, according to sources and aides for different campaign groups.
(CNN) – Hillary Clinton will headline Sen. Tom Harkin's Iowa Steak Fry next month, according to organizers, a move the steps up Clinton's political activity ahead of the 2016 presidential race.
Former President Bill Clinton will also speak at the September 14 event, according to a release about the steak fry.
(CNN) - Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst said Friday she was sexually harassed during her time in the military.
Currently a Republican state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, Ernst told various news outlets that she experienced unwanted attention while serving in the Army and, if elected, will work to overhaul how sexual assault cases are handled in the armed forces.
URBANDALE, Iowa (CNN) - Rand Paul wears his political ambition for all to see. Look no further than the tie he sported during a three-day trip to Iowa. It had yellow images of corn, the crop that epitomizes politics in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
"And by coincidence, I have one in the shape of South Carolina," the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday, drawing laughs.
He was speaking at a Republican breakfast outside Des Moines at Machine Shed, a Midwest restaurant chain where the waiters wear overalls and drinks are served in Mason jars.
Urbandale, Iowa (CNN) – Asked whether he would support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday he supports the idea of traditional marriage but thinks Washington shouldn’t be involved in the issue.
“I’m in favor of the concept,” the Kentucky Republican told an audience in Iowa. “I am in favor of traditional marriage, and I think that’s been the foundation for civilization for thousands of years.”
Davenport, Iowa (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul tried to clarify his position Tuesday on U.S. foreign aid to Israel, saying he strongly supports sending money to the country but added he believes Israel will be better off without foreign assistance in the long run.
“I've spent the last four years trying to put conditions on aid to people who hate us and burn our flag,” the Kentucky Republican said. “I've also talked about that every country ultimately would be better off to be independent.”
Okoboji, Iowa (CNN) – Republican Rep. Steve King was confronted Monday night at his own fundraiser by an undocumented immigrant and activist who argued with the Iowa congressman over his stance on immigration.
Erika Andiola, who’s involved with the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, mostly took issue with King’s vote last week to curb the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows certain young people - who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children - to delay deportation.