Weekend of Presidential Campaigning Beyond Trump's McCain Comments

Jul 20, 2015

Plenty of presidential candidates campaigned in the state this weekend. They were in town for two major party events. There was the Family Leadership Summit in Ames on Saturday which attracts evangelical Republicans. And the state Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner was in Cedar Rapids on Friday.

Perceived Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton came to town early and stopped by a pizzeria to rev up some Iowa staff and volunteers.

Clinton reminisced about her days as a young campaign volunteer like those in the crowd and made the case for keeping a Democrat in the White House.

“Not only do I want success and opportunity for you individually but for you,[and] my granddaughter," Clinton tells the crowd. "I want a country that will be there with those opportunities for you and for every single child born in America.”

Clinton’s appearance at the dinner that night was the first time she shared the stage with the other four candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Likely her biggest competitor, Senator Bernie Sanders gave a variation of the speech he gives in Iowa on things like income inequality and social issues.

“Our Republican colleagues in the senate talk about family values," Sanders says to the crowd. "...You all know what they’re talking about.”

Sanders unintentionally foreshadowed what would be talked about at the next day’s Family Leadership Summit; views against abortion and same-sex marriage.

“But we also have family values – not based on hatred but based on love and compassion," Sanders says. "Our family values that when a woman has a baby she should get 12 weeks of family and medical leave to stay home with her baby.”

And while Saturday’s Family Leadership Summit covered evangelical Christian ideals; the news of the day focused on businessman Republican Donald Trump who’s leading in several polls.

He questioned former prisoner of war and Senator John McCain’s hero status. Most of the candidates who followed Trump denounced his comments. But it was how Trump answered the moderator that likely did not sit well with the heavily evangelical crowd.

"But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?" Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump. "I’m not sure I have. I just try to go and a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong I think I just try to make it right," Trump responded.

There was no favorite from those in the audience although Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal received several standing ovations.

The final candidate of the day was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who successfully stripped union bargaining rights in his state among other controversial issues… and won re-election.

Walker, who began a Winnebago 99-county tour of Iowa, compared himself to the nine other candidates who the crowd had heard that day.

“There’s a lot of winners. "[There's] a lot of people who’ve won election and re-election and that’s great," Walker says. "But they’ve largely not taken on the relevant fights the last few years. I think in your heart you’re looking for someone who can do both… I’m the only one out there.”

There’s not a rush for Iowans to pick a favorite just yet… after all there’s still seven months left before the Iowa caucuses.