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We drove the two hundred fifty miles to the balloon field in Indianola, Iowa for the 37th (and final) Harkin Steak Fry, one of the signature Midwest political events for Democrats, leaving at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning so that we could arrive for the media preset and claim main riser space. We did and we did.

The Ready for Hillary PAC (not affiliated with any candidate) had a formidable presence at the steak fry.

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were the featured speakers, so there was a significant amount of national and international media present. The steak fry folks ran out of printed press credentials.

While we waited for the press entry with about two hundred other media types we ran into the great Charles P. Pierce (Esquire – Politics Blog). He’s an approachable and friendly person. And he tells very funny stories. We introduced ourselves and explained our connections – especially the Vicky Hartzler “the Chinese are spying on us through our toasters” meme.

Charles P. Pierce of Esquire’s The Politics Blog.

The media scrum, waiting for entry into the steak grilling photo op – for about an hour and a half.

A crowd of steak fry civilians gathered from across the balloon field as the media waited for the press only steak grilling photo op. At the point that the gates were opened and almost everyone ran for position you could hear those observers laughing at the media.

Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Harkin at the steak grilling photo op – Harkin Steak Fry, Indianola, Iowa – September 14, 2014.

AFSCME members at the steak fry.

Listening to Tom Harkin.

The crowd.

We’re not certain, but our Show Me Progress road trip group came up with a consensus estimate of seven thousand people in attendance.

Not everyone who attended was from Iowa. If you asked those in our party who were in and around the crowd about its reaction to Hillary Clinton’s speech they would tell you it was way more than enthusiastic. They’re ready and armed for bear. To quote a commenter at Charles P. Pierce’s place:

Do you talk to women who are not very political? They ones I have are really, really excited about Clinton running. There are a lot of people who don’t see her as a retread.

“I’m back.”

The Texts from Hillary photo as a public service announcement on the back of the Ready for Hillary PAC bus.

Oh, if you’re curious about what six or so inches of rain a few days before the event and seven thousand pairs of feet will do to a balloon field in Iowa on a sunny Sunday afternoon – there was mud.


Oh yeah, Hillary’s gonna run (August 18, 2014)

Go North (September 3, 2014)

Road Trip! – the 2014 Harkin Steak Fry (September 5, 2014)

Bet the farm (September 14, 2014)