Eight presidential candidates have stops at the Iowa State Fair on their schedules this week.
On Monday, Democrat Chris Dodd made a trek to the fairgrounds. During a speech at the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox, Dodd vowed to make education his number one priority if he’s elected president.
"We’re going to make community colleges, public community colleges, tuition free. You’ve got 15 of ’em in Iowa. They’ve got hundreds of ’em all across the country," Dodd said.
Dodd would have states match a federal grant to bankroll the costs of a community college education for all students.
Dodd, a former Peace Corps member, also stressed his call for an expansion of public service programs for all ages.
"Every generation, in my view, bears a responsibility to give something back to this country. It’s very little to ask when you consider how much we’ve been given," Dodd said. "And so I’m going to provide an opportunity by expanding AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, a Hero’s program for seniors."
It was Dodd’s health care plan, however, that resonated with fair-goer Marcus Schulze of Norwalk, one of a small group who stopped and listened to Dodd’s speech.
"It was nice to see how forceful he was," Schulze says. "He was very insistent about getting a health care plan in his first four years (as president)."
But Schulze is leaning toward voting for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as Schulze says governors seem to have a better chance of getting elected president than senators do.
Richardson and Arizona Senator John McCain are due to visit the State Fair Tuesday.
Delaware Senator Joe Biden, New York Senator Hillary Clinton and former New York Governor Rudy Giuliani are due Wednesday.
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards will be at the fair Thursday and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson will make a State Fair visit on Friday. It’ll be Thompson’s first campaign visit to the state, although he’s still not officially declared himself a competitor for the GOP’s presidential nomination.