Romney and the five second rule

I remember dropping a hot dog as I was sitting in the stands at the Lenox Stock & Saddle Club rodeo.  I was about six years old.  My dad picked it up, wiped off the ketchup and ate the hot dog himself.

Today, Mitt Romney had a similar moment as he stood beside the grill at the Iowa Pork Producers stand on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  Read & listen to it here. (Hint:  he dropped a pork chop, invoked the "five second rule" and threw it back up on the grill.  A Pork Producer pretty quickly plucked the chop off and tossed it.)   

Romney was given the "special pork chop spatulas" to flip the chops.  Pork producer Dana Wanken of Clarion was the guy in charge of the grill.  "They’re older and duller," Wanken said of the spatulas.  He normally uses them to poke the meat to see if it’s done. 

"They just come and flip ’em," Wanken said of the politicians who stop by the grill to flip pork for the cameras and any fairgoers who may be standing by.  "They show ’em their stuff and away they go."

Wanken doesn’t remember which candidate was flipping chops, but one year a fire flared up in the middle grill as another politician and his entourage stood around the west grill.  (The Pork Producers have three big grills set up just along the sidewalk so people waiting in line can view the goods.)

"That wasn’t pretty because by the time I caught (the fire), it was too late and it was really hard to keep people from getting hurt," he said.  But luckily, there were no burns or injuries.

"Oh, boy, do I remember that fire," he said.  "It was hot."

Despite the wilting heat in Iowa these days, there’s been a flurry of candidate activity in advance of Saturday’s Iowa GOP Straw Poll in Ames. 

This morning, Radio Iowa listeners got a dose of history about the Straw Poll.  As I was listening to Radio Iowa’s audio archives, I picked up a bit of Straw Poll trivia.  Former Vice President Dan Quayle was the master of ceremonies at the 1995 Straw Poll.  Four years later, Quayle was back as a candidate — but he dropped out of the race soon afterwards.  I heard some taped interviews I did in the Quayle tent back in 1995.  The entire crew of Quayle supporters was from an Iowa State fraternity, and they were there because one of their pals was working for Quayle — and they’d been promised beer.  Judging by the audio, they’d had a few before I interviewed them.

Finally, Newt Gingrich is on this evening’s edition of Iowa Press, on Iowa Public Television.  During the program, he blamed Bush — in part — for the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story.  Eventually, you’ll be able to watch the show and read a transcript here.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.