U.S. Senate candidate Art Small faced an angry State Fair crowd yesterday. Small, the democrat who’s challenging republican Senator Charles Grassley in November, agreed to speak at the Des Moines Register’s “Soap Box” on the Fairgrounds, but the 10 o’clock start the Register staff scheduled for him came at the same time as the parade. While Small tried to talk about the negative influence of special interest campaign contributions, angry Fairgoers let him know they’d rather hear the parade announcer. “Here’s a gentleman who says I’m doing o-k,” Small said, then altered that assertion as the man from the audience continued. “I’m doing terribly?” Small said. “They’re announcing the parade, and you’re interrupting,” the bystander told Small. “You’re doing yourself more harm than good.” Small quit his speech. “I have to shut up for a moment because they’re announcing the parade,” Small said. Small moved inside a nearby building to speak with reporters. “I don’t want to mess up the Veterans’ Day parade, certainly. I’m a veteran myself,” Small says. Small, who is 70 years old, joined the Army in 1955. “I fought the Commies over when I was in Germany for the Army Security Agency,” Small says. “In fact, as I was coming back on a troop ship in 1957, my opponent Charles Grassley was already running for political office and he’s been in there ever since.”Small served in Germany along the Czech border, monitoring military traffic. Small says he’s willing to compare his military service and status as a small business owner, attorney and English lit professor against Grassley’s career in politics. And Small says Iowa is not profitting much from Grassley’s lead role as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Small says Grassley’s major accomplishment has been the millions he brought Iowa for construction of an indoor tropical rainforest in eastern Iowa. “If people of the state made a list of all the goodies they’d like from the federal government, assuming the federal government could afford them, do you think for one moment that a tropical rainforest would be at the top of this list?” Small asked. Small did throw Grassley one compliment: he said Grassley had probably been in office long enough to know better than to try to speak at the State Fair. Grassley declined the Register’s invitation to speak on their State Fair Soap Box.
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