McCain’s uneasy return to Iowa

May 2, 2008

mccain.jpgDES MOINES, Iowa – John McCain has always had an uneasy relationship with the state of Iowa. On Thursday, he may have ruffled a few feathers in the farming state when he said he didn’t support a farm bill being hammered out in Congress.

McCain told a town hall meeting designed to tout his health care plan that subsidies in the farm bill were unnecessary.

House and Senate negotiators headed up by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, are trying to iron out compromise legislation.

“I do not believe we should have tariffs against imported products, but I want to promise you as president of the United States of America I will recognize one fundamental fact, and that is the farmer in the state of Iowa and the United States of America is the most productive, the most efficient and the best, and I will open every market in the world to your products and I will sell them,” McCain said.

McCain skipped the state’s caucuses that kick off the presidential race during his failed 2000 White House run, and he campaigned fitfully there ahead of the 2008 contest. He finished fourth.

But Iowa promises to be a battleground in the November presidential election, and he made it the fourth swing state he visited on a weeklong tour to push his health care plans. He opened in Florida, then hit Pennsylvania and Ohio before a town hall in Des Moines. He closes the tour in Colorado on Friday.

In the end, McCain promised to be back for a staple of  presidential political campaigning — a visit to the usually sweltering Iowa State Fair in August and the strange array of delicacies it offers.

“Iowa will again be a battleground state. I intend to spend a lot of time here. I also look forward very much to going back to the Iowa State Fair and having a pork chop on a stick, followed by a deep-fried Twinkie.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (McCain speaks during Miami news conference)

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