Underdogs & ham balls

Two final notes about this Friday, April 9.  First, Governor Chet Culver today declared himself the “underdog” in his bid for reelection. He also likened himself to the 2009/2010 UNI men’s basketball team.

I think Iowans love underdogs,” Culver said.

No word on whether at some point Culver will sing the theme song for the cartoon show.  U.S. Senate candidate Art Small sang the Underdog theme himself on the day he held a news conference at the statehouse to announce his candidacy.  Small, as you may recall, used the slogan: “think big, vote small” in his 2004 race against Chuck Grassley.

Oh, and Tom Vilsack had his son’s quartet sing the “Underdog” theme song on the front porch of the family home in Mount Pleasant in 1998 when Vilsack was running a long-shot campaign for governor.  As you may remember, Vilsack wound up winning that race.

Second note:  I spent much of this evening on the Madison County Fairgrounds in Winterset.  Madison County Democrats held a dinner and the three Democrats who want to face off against Senator Chuck Grassley in 2010 were there to speak.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story.  Grassley’s “pull the plug on grandma” comment — uttered in Winterset this past August — was fodder for the evening.

The cows near the Jackson Community Building on the fairgrounds could be heard mooing.  Cardboard cut-outs of John Wayne and another of Barack Obama were in the hallway of the meeting hall.  People who entered were invited to pose by the cut-outs.  Later, they learned they could get a copy of the snapshot — for $3.  The friendly folks in Madison County also offered me dinner, which I declined.  They served ham balls, cheesy potatoes and green bean casserole.

“This is one of the best meals that we have had on the campaign trail,” Roxanne Conlin, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, told the crowd as she began her speech. “In a situation like this, so often we get fried chicken that was fried several days ago and is kind of congealed. Nothing like a ham ball and cheesy potatoes!  So thank you, very much, to the people who did the hard work of cooking wonderful food for so many people.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

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