The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 14, 2012

In Iowa, Obama surprises fairgoers with a visit

DES MOINES — The Iowa State Fair wasn't on President Barack Obama's official schedule, but the lure of a beer and a pork chop may have been too much to pass up.

Obama's three-day tour of Iowa by bus made the unscheduled stop Monday at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines just a few hours after the Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, appeared at the fair.

Obama spent an hour walking along a stretch of the fairgrounds, greeting throngs of parents and their children, crouching at one point to meet 9-month-old Cole Nelson, who was resting in the arms of his mother, Deborah.

When the child swept his hand across the president's nose, Obama said: "What do you think? That's a pretty big nose."

The president resisted the temptation of cinnamon rolls at one stand, telling people he was "saving my space for pork chop on a stick." His stroll brought him to a quick photo-op with the Iowa State Fair queen, 17-year-old Abrah Meyer of Readlyn, Iowa, who wore a tiara, a sash and a royal purple dress.

Obama wrapped up his state fair visit with a swing by the Bud Tent, where a large crowd chanted, "Four more years." He told them with a smile, "Everyone who's over 21, you gotta buy a beer," prompting someone in the crowd to yell, "Is it on you?"

The president looked into his wallet as some people in the crowd started chanting, "Four more beers!"

Obama told them, "I'll tell you what, except for the Romney sign, I'll buy beers for ten people." He walked over to the crowd, but it wasn't clear whether he bought the beers or not, any transaction occurring out of the sight of reporters. But it was clear that Obama ended up with a plate with two pork chops, handed to him by Greg Lear, the president-elect of the Iowa Pork Producers.

Taking a beer in a plastic cup, the president thanked the bartender and ate a quick dinner with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the state's former governor. "It's going to go well with my pork chop," Obama said.

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