They’re not exactly Laurel and Hardy, but Iowa Congressman Tom Latham and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley were a two-man comedy team for a few minutes on Monday as the Republican duo poked fun at each other during a campaign rally for Latham at the Urbandale GOP Victory office.
Tom Latham, nearing the end of a combative race with Democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell, was in high spirits for the second event of his 16-county, 40-stop bus tour. Joined by Grassley and Hawkeye football legend Ed Podolak, the trio visited with supporters and volunteers over the lunch hour. While also noting the seriousness of the problems the country faces, Latham and Grassley were clearly having a good time.
Last week at a campaign rally for Mitt Romney in Ames, Senator Grassley accidentally said “elect Obama” instead of “elect Romney”. Grassley joked about the faux pas on Monday while introducing Congressman Latham.
“I apologize to all of you for making that mistake, but I’m not an orator, I’m just a common, everyday person so maybe I make a mistake. But I didn’t say ‘Elect Boswell’. I want you to elect Latham,” Grassley said as the crowd laughed.
Latham’s retort kept the jocularity going. “Thank you very much Senator Grassley. Of all the introductions I’ve ever had, that was the most recent,” he cracked.
Latham then noted that Grassley is an inspiration, someone he looks up to and a great friend. He then introduced another good friend, Iowa football legend and Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame member Ed Podolak. Now an announcer for Hawkeye radio broadcasts, Podolak kept the mood light, while using a football analogy to fire up the volunteers.
“It’s just a real delight to be able to spend today and meet a lot of the great people who are supporting not only the congressman, but Governor Romney,” Podolak said. “So, let’s go! We’re one week away. Let’s open up the locker room door and hit the field.”
Later, Latham said he finally found something to agree with Congressman Boswell on. “He said twice that he wants his people to get out and vote on November 7th. I would hope each and every one of you are suggesting to your friends and neighbors on the phone calls that they vote on November 6th or before,” Latham said with a laugh. “It’s pretty amazing.”
The longtime congressman then discussed the differences between himself and Leonard Boswell and encouraged the supporters and volunteers to keep up their hard work in the final eight days. Then, the comedy act resumed.
“Thank you all very, very much. God bless. Get another hot dog if you can before Grassley gets to it,” he said to laughs from the crowd.
“Let me tell you about him,” Senator Grassley interjected. “He didn’t tell me they had free food here and I went to Hy-Vee and had to buy some food.”
“Two things wrong with that story,” Latham replied. “He would never buy. Anybody ever hear about Senator Grassley maybe being thrifty? That’s a nice word for cheap.”
As the crowd of around 100 chuckled, the joking continued. “You ate here didn’t you,” Latham asked Grassley. “No, I ate at Hy-Vee,” the senator replied. “You didn’t tell me.”
That led one of the volunteers to interject into the act. “I have a question. Why can’t he buy his own lunch if he’s one these ‘rich Republicans’?” Grassley, once again showing good comedic timing, retorted, “How do you think I got to be rich?”
That ended the comedy portion of the program. The two prominent GOP statesmen continued to mingle with attendees, as did Ed Podolak. TheIowaRepublican caught up with Podolak to get his thoughts on the Latham/Boswell race, as well as the Hawkeye football team’s recent struggles.
“If you’re interested in the long term of this country and getting this debt under control, you’ve got to vote for Congressman Latham,” Podolak said. “I mean, we can’t keep spending this kind of money. We can’t be putting this debt on our children and grandchildren and that’s exactly what’s happening. If we don’t get control of it and rein it in, and we need control of the Congress along with the presidency, in order to do that.”
Podolak also encouraged Iowa fans to be patient, and noted that the freshman class that is currently redshirting is extremely talented, which bodes well for the future of Hawkeye football.
“Every once in a while, when you’ve got a population like Iowa has, you’re going to have some drought years and it’s just been unfortunate that there’s been a couple of them put together now, but it’s going to be fine. Coach Ferentz is a terrific gentleman, he’s a great coach and just hang in there Hawk fans.”
Iowa House candidates Jim Carley and Mike Brown, as well as Senator Jack Whitver, also campaigned with Congressman Latham on Monday.
Photo by Brad Boustead
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