- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Poll numbers suggested this week that Hillary Clinton’s lofty approval ratings are waning, and she appears more like a typical political candidate than invincible Democratic rock star. But Iowa is calling, nonetheless.

On Sunday, she journeys to the heartland with former President Bill Clinton, both bound for the Hawkeye State’s biggest “steak fry”, this organized by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin for the 37th year in a row. The event is so large that it must be staged on a hot-air balloon field in Indianola, and is billed as a “meat and greet”. Photos of grinning luminaries waving hunks of steak often emerge in the aftermath.

Mr. Clinton, however, has been a strict vegan since 2011, following a cardiac event. Will he dine on grilled eggplant and a veggie burger? No details on his menu have emerged yet, though organizers say that yes, veggie burgers, along with chicken and baked beans are available to one and all. This is Mr. Clinton’s fourth visit to the fry, and the second for his spouse.

Mrs. Clinton visited the event in 2007 when, according to news accounts from the Des Moines Record, “the Clinton campaign handed out 5,000 megaphones filled with popcorn, 9,000 yard signs, 2,500 T-shirts and 453 cowbells.”

Washington is also calling, and Democratic Party fundraising is in high gear. Crowding the in-boxes of loyal Democrats comes this cordial email: “We’re flying one lucky supporter and their guest to Washington, D.C., for one of our biggest events of the year - and President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary Hillary Clinton will all be there too! Chip in now and you’ll be automatically entered for your chance to win.”

It’s ultimately worth about $3,000 to the winner who will attend the two-day “issues conference” next week at a hotel in the nation’s capitol, on behalf of the Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum. Also appearing: Jill Biden, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden, Gloria Steinham, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards - among many, many, many more.

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