DES MOINES -- It's a muggy but pleasant evening here in the land of deep-fried Twinkies, giant turkey legs, and pork-on-a-stick, and Barack Obama just left the Iowa State Fairgrounds after sampling the attractions with his wife, Michelle, and two daughters. Obama, like the other major presidential candidates looking ahead to the January caucuses, wouldn't miss the Iowa State Fair for anything.
With a heavy media contingent in tow, Obama walked arm-in-arm with his family around the fairgrounds, stopping first to buy some caramel corn. From there, they hit the 'Toon Theatre. Obama waited while his daughters, Malia, 9, and Sasha, 6, disappeared inside. They looked unimpressed when they came out.
The Obamas then sauntered over to the Spyr-O-Mania booth, where contestants win prizes by being the first to lift a Garfield doll to the ceiling with a water gun. Obama manned a gun with Sasha, but they lost the first round to a young girl next to them. "Yeah, yeah, you got beat by a girl," the attendant said to him. When they played a second time, Michelle and Malia won. The attendant ribbed him again. "That's twice!" she said, telling Michelle to choose a prize. "Pick it out, honey." On the third try, Obama won. "Finally!" the attendant said.
They moved on to the bumper car track, where Obama and Sasha, riding together, put a nice hit on Malia before ramming Michelle head-on. They then opted for the Big Ben ride, which raises riders high in the air before suddenly dropping them all the way down, like they're in free fall. "Oh my God," Michelle said as Obama and Malia dangled high above the ground. Was it stuck? Obama's staff looked mildly concerned, too, before the ride let go and Obama and his daughter dropped like rocks. "Did you here me screaming like a girl?" Obama called out on his way down. "What I do for my nine-year-old," he said once safely on the ground.
When it was time to go, Obama split from his wife and children, who wanted to stay at the fair a while longer -- but without the crush of media. "Please, go with him," Michelle told the press, before walking back into the fair with her daughters to decide what they would do next.