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One of the great Fall political events is the annual Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa. This morning we drove the almost two hundred fifty miles to the Balloon Field in Indianola to listen to Democratic Party and other like-minded luminaries address a large crowd of Iowa Democrats at the outdoor venue. The weather wasn’t too cooperative, ranging from a persistent drizzle to a steady downpour. Never mind – we brought our rain gear, old shoes, and large umbrellas. The big tent covering the dining area (and venue for speeches) also helped keep us relatively dry.

The featured speakers, in addition to Senator Tom Harkin (D) of Iowa, were Paul Begala – Democratic Party strategist and senior staffer for President Bill Clinton – and Senator Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont. They fired up the audience of over five hundred under the big tent.

“I Back Barack – 2012”

Volunteers on the food serving line. Note the Obama campaign buttons.

Paul Begala.

Paul Begala (right) and an Iowa Democrat conversing out in the rain.

Senator Tom Harkin (D) (left) and Paul Begala at the grill.

Paul Begala speaking to the press.

Senator Tom Harkin (D) speaking to the press.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I) addressing the crowd under the big tent.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I).

Listening to the message.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I).

Applauding Senator Bernie Sanders.

Senator Tom Harkin (D) addressing the crowd under the big tent – Ruth Harkin (left).

Paul Begala enjoying one of Senator Tom Harkin’s (D) many punch lines.

Taking it all in.

Paul Begala addressing the crowd under the big tent.

After the speech.