Politicians Woo Iowans at Agriculture Summit

How Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry tried to woo Iowa voters.

— -- While Iowans were busy parsing potential presidential candidates’ stances on agriculture policy at the first-ever Ag Summit in Des Moines, politicians tried ingratiating themselves to those living in the state who will be the first to caucus in 2016.

This weekend marked Jeb Bush’s first appearance in the Hawkeye State in more than two years. But he made sure to remind Iowans that he had been to the land of pork and corn before.

During his father’s campaign, “I probably went to at least 50 of the counties, if not more,” the former Florida governor told the audience.

When discussing his family’s “Sunday fun day,” Bush managed to slip in a not-so-subtle reference to “Iowa beef” with a knowing smirk.

Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, also hawked his Iowa cred.

“I’ve been in every county in Iowa,” said Santorum, who called Iowa State Fair pork tenderloin “the best.”

Other potential candidates were a bit more subtle, highlighting their agriculture experience in an effort to be popular in a state with over 80,000 farms.

“I think those of you in the agriculture community will respect that I know where you come from, what you've been through,” said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who spent eight years as Texas Agriculture Commissioner and touted his time as a member of 4-H.

Even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emphasized the importance of Iowan agriculture.

“Farmers should be in charge of devising solutions … not with some top down program from Washington, D.C.," he said. "It never makes sense and it certainly makes even less sense for folks who don’t understand what’s going on here in Iowa.”