Presidential candidates make their way to the famed Soap Box at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines because Iowans host the first in the nation caucus for the 2020 election. Spanning 445 acres,11 days with a million attendees, the fairgrounds are home to all sorts of rides, games, animals, and this year even a wind turbine blade.
The first Iowa State Fair was held in Fairfield. After years of moving around the state, the fair finally settled into a permanent home in 1878. The candidates appear on the 50-square-foot Soap Box stage, hosted by the Des Moines Register newspaper. Each candidate gets an allotted amount of time to speak and answer questions to convince the fairgoers to vote for them. We arrived very early to set up our camera to capture the candidates and try to get interviews. I learned there is lots of waiting when working in news production. We shot video of Montana Governor Bullock, Vice President Joe Biden, and former congressman John Delaney.
My job was to follow our host Greta Van Susteren, the Gray Television Political Analyst. As she approached Vice President Biden he surprised us by grabbing her hand and having her walk with him as she asked him questions. It was exactly what we wanted and more because it made her look more important walking with him through the crowd. It was a great video. She is the host of a new political show on Gray TV called Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.
Before we left, we walked down the main street to see a 150-foot wind turbine blade. Greta proceeded to interview the wind association representative and I continued to shoot video while the local TV station cameraman put a microphone on Greta and the guest.
Before we went to the fair we visited a farm. The Kimberleys, Grant and his father, Rick, grow soybeans and corn on their multi-generational family farm and they shared the problems they face. China President Xi visited their farm to see where the soybeans are grown. We began at Kimberley’s farm house and walked through the fields as Greta interviewed both of them. Grant explained how farmers grow and export soybeans. In addition, he informed us of the challenges of weather to crops. With the ongoing trade war with China, the American soybean business is in jeopardy. China does not need American soybeans as much since they are using technology to grow them in places they were not able to grow before. After we finished the interview, Rick showed us a picture of him and President Xi. President Trump visited him as well. Here is the story that was cut to run nationally on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.