It's known as the soapbox. Every four years, presidential candidates stand in Iowa and deliver their campaign message, which for Mayor Bill de Blasio was an impassioned appeal to working people and a diatribe against the wealthy and powerful.

"Wall Street did that to you! Big corporations did that to you!" he said in his speech.

For all the fiery populism, though, a trip to the Iowa State Fair is supposed to mean some fun. And de Blasio went all in. Joined by First Lady Chirlane McCray and son Dante, de Blasio worked his way through a series of carnival-style games, winning more than one prize along the way.


The State Fair also meant lots and lots of food.


There's the sculptures made of butter, and lots of built-in media attention.

"Stand up for working people, and working people will stand up for the Democratic Party!" the mayor said.

It was just one of several campaign stops that featured a whole host of candidates. The mayor was among 16 candidates to speak at a gun safety forum Saturday, and tried to stand apart by taking on the country's largest gun retailer.

"If you have a choice in where you can shop, it's time to boycott Walmart," de Blasio said.

But when de Blasio was the only attraction, the crowd was considerably thinner. This meet-and-greet in Cedar Rapids barely drew 15 people:


All along the way, de Blasio practiced his signature line:

"There's plenty of money in this country; it's just in the wrong hands."

He'd introduce his family, always noting Dante's role in his prep for last week's Sean Hannity interview.

"Dante was watching all the video of Hannity appearances to tell me exactly how to do it," de Blasio said.

And the mayor's in the habit of apologizing on behalf of New York for Donald Trump.

"I'm sorry you got to know him. I wish you didn't. But this New Yorker's ready to get rid of him for you," de Blasio said to a crowd.

Whether or not the mayor's message is catching on, he seems to be enjoying himself along the way, no doubt feeding the perception that he's lost interest in the job back home.


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