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Harkin Steak Fry 2012 – photos (September 16, 2012)

Harkin Steak Fry 2012 – Road Trip (September 16, 2012)

The 35th Annual Harkin Steak Fry: Getting a Jump on 2016 (September 17, 2012)

After we checked in at the media table at the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on Sunday we had a few hours to eat, walk the Warren County Fairgrounds site, visit with people, and take a few photographs before the press availability with the host, Senator Tom Harkin (D), and his guest, the featured speaker, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

We gathered with the rest of the media at the appointed hour and were ushered to an area next to one of the outdoor grills.

Senator Tom Harkin (D) at the press availability at the 35th Annual Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on September 16, 2012.

The transcript:

Senator Tom Harkin (D): …So, welcome again to the thirty-fifth Harkin Steak Fry.  Uh, we’ve had a lot of great speakers in the, in the past and we have another great speaker today, a good friend, uh, the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley who has just done great things in his state. I’m kind of jealous, really, quite frankly. Uh, I chair the Education Committee in the Senate and, uh, you know, we look at all the different states and what’s happening. And it was brought to my attention that Maryland now, uh, exceeds all states in the number of kids who pass through advanced placement tests. To me that says something about Governor O’Malley’s devotion to education in his state. He’s kept tuition down in his state. Uh, and so, the way I see it, he’s put money in to, in to schools, rebuilding schools, school construction, renovation, so, uh, my way of thinking, he’s a, he’s my education governor and has done a lot of great things for education. Since we take pride in our education in Iowa I wanted to have him come out and meet Iowans and, and, uh, talk to our steak fry. So, nice to have Martin O’Malley here from Maryland.

Governor Martin O’Malley (D): Senator, thank you. I’m a huge fan of your senator. Senator Harkin, more than any other senator, I think, in the U.S. Senate has accomplished things that reach all across our country. I mean, I don’t know another senator that’s, uh, touched as many lives in as many real ways as he has with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Uh, every family, every community, we were talking on the way up here, how gratifying it must be to run in to people from towns and places you’d never ever been who thank you for what you’ve done for their family members and, and for themselves. So, uh, look, I’m, I’m honored to be here. Uh, we, uh, I’m also the chair of the Democratic Governors Association and, uh, this is state that we intend to win in two thousand and fourteen. Democratic governors are all about doing the things that work in order to improve, uh, education, improve public safety, create jobs and expand opportunity. We’re not ideologues. We believe that you bring people together to do the things that work. And that’s the sort of leadership that Senator Harkin brought to the U.S. Senate. And, uh, so, uh, I’m, I’m very, very honored to be here. Thank you for the nice things you’ve said about what the people of my state have accomplished. In the toughest of times our state’s been able to move forward, improving education, improving public safety, and, and really giving our kids a better shot at being winners in this new economy. So, I’m honored to be here and it’s been great to meet all your friends and look forward, uh, to working with you to, uh, help the people of Iowa elect a new democratic governor in two thousand fourteen…

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley at the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa, September 16, 2012.

Senator Harkin:  And carry it for Barrack Obama this year, too. We’re gonna, we’re, we’re gonna work hard to carry, uh, Iowa for Iowa. He carried it last time. It’s a close race in Iowa. Uh, I, I, rode out on the plane with him a couple of weeks ago and as you know he’s taken a bus tour across Iowa, he’s been to, here a couple three times, he was here with, uh, Joe Biden and Jill, and his wife just a couple weeks ago, well, just the day after the, after the convention. And he’ll be here a lot of times, uh, uh, Vice President Biden’s gonna be here the next couple of days here in Iowa. So I can tell yah, uh, President Obama told me personally that they are investing a lot in this state and they intend to win Iowa. And we intend to carry it for him.

Question: Governor O’Malley, how difficult is it to begin this process of testing the waters in Iowa before the two thousand twelve election has actually even been held?

Governor O’Malley:  Oh, I don’t know, that’s not what I’m doing. I’m here for, uh, I’m here because my friend Senator Harkin asked me come. And Iowa’s a very important state to President Obama and to the reelection of the President which is very important to the people of my state. I mean, in Maryland the things we’ve been able to do, Race to the Top, improving education, improving public safety, those things wouldn’t have been possible without President Obama help, without the help of, and the courageous votes of people like Senator Harkin. And, um, Democratic governors, uh, need our President to be reelected so we can continue to make progress for our people. It’s, it’s a great honor to be invited here and, um, I’m, I’m looking forward to, uh, meeting the senator’s friends, and, most importantly, I’m looking forward to helping the people of Iowa, uh, as we move forward and, and elect more Democratic governors across our country in the years ahead.

Question: Governor, since you’ve brought up twenty-fourteen, uh, in your roll with the Governors Association, are you actively scouting Democratic candidates for governor here? And have you had any conversations specifically with former Governor Culver.

Governor O’Malley: Well. I know Senator, I mean, I know Governor Culver. In fact, Governor Culver and I both traveled to Iraq together. And, uh, you know, he, uh, his soldiers, his men and women in uniform were serving there with men and women from Maryland and we’d swap flags and cell phone cameras whenever we came across  groups of our, our people. So, I like, uh, I like Governor Culver and his wife, Mary. They’re good friends of mine. I mean, ultimately, in every primary the Democratic Governors, kinda, the DGA takes a step back and people in every state have to figure out their own, uh, politics in their primary. And, uh, it’s, having spent some time in Iowa I believe that the people of Iowa, when we give them a choice of moving forward or falling back, always choose to move forward. That’s in your DNA. And I think that’s what you’re going to do again when the opportunity, uh, of the governor’s race  comes up.

Question: Senator Harkin, what’s the number one message you hope to communicate during today’s program?

Senator Harkin:  Well, I think that the number one message is sort of what, uh, Governor O’Malley said. Uh, progress. We gotta keep moving forward. We can’t go back. And if you listen to the Republican party’s platform, read it, and listen to what they’re saying, as I will say today, they want to take us back before Roosevelt. Not Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt. Uh, I mean, undo all of the, kind of the, the social contract that we have built up in America since the nineteen, early nineteen hundreds. Uh, the social contract dealing with education, with health care, with the environment, uh, jobs, retraining. We’ve built a wonderful social contract in this country. And, and don’t take my word for it, but, Bruce Bartlett who was President Reagan’s economic advisor said that this Ryan budget is a monstrosity. A monstrosity in terms of shredding the social contract. And, to me, that’s what’s at stake in this election. And that’s the message I want to get across, that, that, uh, we’ve gotta redouble our efforts and work hard. We’re not gonna have as much money. I saw a figure the other day, I, I can’t vouch for it, but in the super PACs and all these ads you’re seeing that you don’t know where a lot of the money’s coming from, that we’re being outspent over ten to one. So, it’s gonna take, uh, boots on the ground, people working hard to get our vote out.


Question:  Is this, I mean, everybody says this is gonna be decided on the economy. How much is foreign policy starting to become a key issue in this race?

Senator Harkin:  I, I think what, what Governor Romney did this week in stepping into this fray in Libya, terrible thing that happened to our ambassador and other Americans, I, I think, you know, when it comes to foreign policy you just can’t shoot from the hip. And I think it indicates to me, and this is my own view, Rod, I’m just saying this, that it seemed to me that Romney was more intent on scoring some kind of political points then he was in buttressing America’s foreign policy. And I think that’s why you saw so many Republicans running away from him on it. [….]

Governor O’Malley:  I, I think, uh, I think you’re exactly right. The, it’s, it’s complicated, it’s a complicated world that we live in, but I think that when you look at, uh, when you compare our president, his stature, the, uh, the manner in which he carries himself in the international arena and the, and guides our country, and moves it forward and contrast that with former Governor Romney, who has a difficult time even being a good guest at another nation’s Olympics, I think there’s really no, no contest there. I mean, uh, President Obama is our commander in chief, and, uh, in a complicated time, uh, he’s moving our country forward, leading us forward, and I think that that’s, uh, pretty clear, uh, as people, uh, make their decisions about this race. I mean, there is no progress without jobs. But at the same time, one of the jobs of our commander in chief is to represent us in an increasingly complicated international world.

Question: Governor, you’ve mentioned that you’ve been to Iraq. Are there other ways that you have, uh, moved to inform yourself about foreign policy, um, as a governor?

Governor O’Malley:  Oh, I don’t know, as Democratic Governors we focus on jobs and opportunity and bringing people together to make the tough decisions now. Uh, and, and that’s what we do. Uh, and at the same time we also know that the more we can open up markets around the world to the services and the goods that are produced in our states, whether it’s Maryland or Iowa, but that creates jobs here at home. And, uh, I think the people of Iowa and the people of Maryland actually share a, a pretty, uh, uh, a pretty inspiring opportunity right now, to figure out new ways to feed, fuel and heal this world of ours. And you see innovations happening in our state and, and here in your state, uh, that allow us to do that, from biofuels to wind energy to, uh, the cures that allow us to be a healing force in the world. I, I think it’s an exciting time, uh, to, for us as, uh, to be American.