Presidential hopefuls visit “Political Soapbox” at Iowa State Fair

Presidential hopefuls visit “Political Soapbox” at Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa (GRAY DC) - Under the hot August sun, voters and TV cameras crowding in to a tight space to see South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Iowa State Fair Tuesday.

He's the latest of the 2020 presidential hopefuls to participate in the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox.

It’s nothing elaborate - just an 8 foot by 8 foot wooden platform, surrounded by some hay bales.

Armed with only a microphone, the candidates have just 20 minutes to make their case.

"I had one candidate ask me if he could tap dance,” Rachel Stassen-Berger, Des Moines Register politics editor, said. "I was like, ‘Sure, it’s your 20 minutes.’ You can bring up your family if you want, as several of the candidates did.”

Presidential candidates have visited the soapbox since 2003.

Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack climbed up on the soapbox seven times.

“It’s really a microcosm of democracy in some ways to be at the Iowa State Fair and to be addressing the crowds there,” said Rep. Loebsack said.

Loebsack says the soapbox is a must for any candidate running for the White House.

“Get up there and be yourself. Be authentic. Be genuine. Give your speech. And make sure you’re talking from your heart, not just your head. I think that’s really important for Iowans.”

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