American Dispatch: A Reporter On The Road In Iowa

American Dispatch: A Reporter On The Road In Iowa
By Rich Johnson
Senior National Correspondent, Fox News Radio

One of the toughest jobs that any shy broadcast journalist must do is the dreaded ‘M-O-S,’ which stands for ‘Man on the Street.’  It’s just as it sounds: stand on the street and ask people to stop and talk about the subject of the day – in my case, the Iowa Republican Caucuses.

In Des Moines, that job is made easier by the Skywalk, the network of enclosed pedestrian walkways one story off the street.  My favorite spot to have people come to me is this coffee stand at the intersection of four Skywalks.  The coffee helps, too!

The Iowa Caucuses often require long drives, like the three hour trek from Des Moines to Sioux City I made earlier this month.  There are many signs along the way for attractions like the Bob Feller Museum, John Wayne’s birthplace, The Iowa Danish Heritage Museum, Madison County and its famous covered bridges, and the Museum of Religious Arts.  I didn’t see any of them, as there’s no tourism in politics!

Here’s how I keep informed during those long drives: My XM Radio duct-taped to the seat, with a magnetic antenna on the car roof and a patch cord into the audio system.  Leather seats make the process much easier.

Of course, those long drives demand the occasional meal.  And this is my new favorite Iowa food: the loose meat sandwich served up by the Maid-Rite chain.  This one’s in downtown Newton.

This is the Cheese-Rite, as evidence by the slice of American-Style Cheese Food Product. This thing does kinda grow on you (especially me, if you’ve seen me lately).  But it is a bit curious that the same town that produces one of the best blue cheeses in the world (Maytag) also throws a yellow slice of something on top of a burger with no structure.

Also, notice the spoon, which you need later in the consumption process. It is loose meat, after all!

When the candidates are flung all over the state and the bosses still want me to report live on the newscast every hour, it means a lot of hours in a hotel room watching Fox News Channel, reading the news wires and surfing the web for the latest tidbits from the road.

So who goes to these caucuses, and why?

LISTEN to FOX News Radio’s Rich Johnson reporting from Iowa: