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Welcome to my live blog of U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s inaugural Roast and Ride from the Central Iowa Expo outside of Boone, IA.  I’ll be adding updates periodically.  Be sure to refresh for updates.  The most recent post will be up at the top.

4:04p – Huckabee is done, Ernst is back up.  This concludes the speeches.  I believe the Nadas are back on.  This pretty much concludes the live blog-worthy part of the event.  Thanks for following!

4:03p – Huckabee is the only candidate to bring up judicial supremacy.  He promises to fight against judicial tyranny.

4:02p – Huckabee: America is a great country, but we are losing it because we elect people who are no longer serving us.

4:01p – Huckabee: Easiest job, and one that paid the most was talking about candidate.  Hardest job is running and governing.

4:00p – Huckabee: If you want to look at somebody who has faced, fought and beat the Clinton machine… you are looking at him.

3:58p – Huckabee is talking about Social Security… I don’t believe any other candidate discussed this today either.  He seems to be going away from standard stump speech.

3:57p – Huckabee touts the Fair Tax, he’s the only candidate running on it.

3:54p – Huckabee is focusing his remarks on the shrinking economy and wage stagnation… Populist tones.  He said he’s not a globalist, but wants good jobs for Americans.

3:53p – Mike Huckabee is up.

3:52p – Rubio: This election is not about the laws we are going to pass, but what kind of country we want to have.

3:51p – Rubio: We raised our standards and we did it without Common Core… applause.

3:5op – Rubio: If we keep electing the same people nothing will change.

3:49p – Rubio: Yesterday is over…. a new century is here now and we should embrace it.

3:48p – Rubio says we need to stop penalizing marriage through the tax code…. All of this candidates are hitting on standard stump speeches.

3:46p – Rubio – Says education should also teach trades…. We need an America that doesn’t graduate people with worthless degrees. Not exactly sure how that works…

3:45p – Rubio says the Democrats answer to problems is raising taxes and the minimum wage.

3:44p – Rubio is discussing how the world has changed… how the threat is radical Islamic Jihad, not the Soviet Union.

3:42p – Marco Rubio – we are blessed as a party to have so many good candidates, the Democrats can’t even come up with one.

3:41p – Carson – We need to recognize that we are people of faith.  We should not give away our beliefs for the purpose of political correctness.

3:39p – Carson says he’s amazed how some people think the only experience that matters is government experience.  He said there are some people in government who he wouldn’t allow to tie his shoe.

3:38p – Carson says he has spent time on corporate boards that give him executive experience.

3:36p – Here is a video from Carson earlier discussing the recent Washington Post article that said his campaign was in chaos.

3:35p – Some of the crowd that left prior to Graham’s speech have come back for Carson.

3:34p – Ben Carson says that he hopes the Republican primary process is more cordial than the 2012 process was.  “We know who the enemy is, and it is not us.”

3:33p – Ben Carson is up.

3:32p – Graham: There is no problem that can’t be fixed.  There is no way to fix these things without sacrifice.

3:31p – Graham: We need to rebuild our military, we need a president who is willing to work with Democrats when it makes sense.

3:30p – Graham: We are all one car wreck away from needing help.

3:29p – Graham mentioned that he’s not married and doesn’t have any kids.

3:27p – Graham’s speech is chock full of one liners.  He’s getting a polite response.

3:26p – Graham: I am tired of leading from behind, I want to lead from the front.

3:25p – Graham: “I see America this way – too much debt, too many terrorists, I am going to reduce both.”

3:22p – Lindsey Graham: “Hillary Clinton couldn’t be here today because there is a crowd here who would ask her questions.”

3:19p – Fiorina: We need a leader who understands technology (said the economy earlier as well).   We need a leader who understands the highest call of leadership is to unlock the potential in others.

3:17p – Fiorina: On my first day I will take two phones – one to Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him that America will stand with Israel… 2nd phone call to Supreme Leader of Iran – until and if you are willing to open all of your nuclear facilities… reassert sanctions..

3:15p – Fiorina: We need a leader in the White House who is willing to challenge the status quo.

3:15p – Fiorina: 82% of American people believe we have a political class in Washington, DC who cares more about their power than serving the people who elected them.

3:14p – Fiorina: “The truth is the potential of too many people’s lives is being crushed, squandered and wasted.”

3:13p – Fiorina: I know most of the world leaders on the stage today, not because of photo ops, but because I talked business, charity or education with them.

3:11p – Carly Fiorina: There was a poll that asked Americans who they would most like to debate Hillary Clinton.  I was gratified to have won that poll.

3:10p – Walker: What has made our country great and exceptional… is in times of crisis are men and women of courage who have thought more about their children and grandchildren than themselves.

3:09p – Walker: We should not change our position in dealing with Iran.  We need a leader who will stand up to radical Islamic terrorists and stand with Israel.

3:06p – Walker: I never knew anyone growing up who wanted to become dependent on the government.

3:05p – Walker: I learned if you work hard and play by the rules you can do or be anything in America.

3:03p – Walker on Ernst: “I love a senator who knows how to casterate a pig, ride a Hawg, and cut pork in Washington, DC.”

3:01p – Scott Walker: “Freedom defined by our creator and endowed by our Constitution and defended every day by those in uniform.”

3:00p – Perry: If you elect me president I will honor that duty and make America great again.

2:59p – Perry: “If you elect me president I will secure that border.”

2:58p – Perry is receiving a great response from the crowd as he touts his experience dealing with Hurricane Katrina and the recent border crisis.

2:57p – Perry: Gives Joni Ernst props.

2:55p – Perry: We made it through Jimmy Carter, we’ll make it through the Obama years.  He said we’ll do it by using American energy, cutting corporate tax rates.

2:53p – Former Texas Governor Rick Perry was up.  He did his own ride with proceeds going to the Puppy Jake Foundation.  Marcus Luttrell and other retired U.S. Navy SEALs joined him on the ride.  Perry said he is running for President because “America’s freedoms are the greatest in the world and we need to fight for them every day.”

2:51p – Ok, here’s the skinny on the “security breach.”  Chief Deputy RD Lampe of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department told Caffeinated Thoughts that a bomb threat was called in.  Candidates were rounded up and brought to the Central Iowa Expo’s administration building.  It was deemed not credible.

2:37p – It is being describes as a “security breach,” the candidates were moved to a holding area, but I’ve been told is that it has now passed.

2:33p – I have talked with two campaigns that have heard this rumor… trying to learn more.

2:31p – Just learned the threat… still trying to learn more was generally targeting the GOP.

2:29p – Congressman David Young is now speaking.  King said the vetting process is good for Republicans.  In general the speakers have been down on the coronation happening on the Democrat side.

2:22p – Grassley is done.  Congressman Steve King is up.

2:21p – Trying to confirm the bomb threat rumor.

2:17p – Chuck Grassley is up.  He said we should thank God every night that Ernst ran a good campaign to get elected.

2:13p – There was a bomb threat, but it must not be credible as Governor Branstad is speaking.

2:11p – Branstad: “The failed policies of the Obama administration has driven the price of corn and soybeans below the cost of production.”

2:09p – Branstad: “It is Iowa Republicans who will ask the tough questions.”  Points out how Clinton is avoiding questions from everyday Iowans and the media.

2:08p – Reynolds and Branstad encourage presidential candidates to make to Iowa often.  Reynolds said they should go to all 99 counties.

2:03p – Reynolds criticizes Hillary Clinton for not taking questions saying “she’s ready for a coronation.”

1:59p – Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds is up now.

1:57p – Some information from the pool report just sent out re. the “ride” part of the Roast and Ride from Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register:

More than 300 motorcyclists departed from Big Barn Harley-Davidson in Des Moines at 11:28 a.m., heading northbound on NW 2nd Street through Des Moines for the ride portion of U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s inaugural Roast and Ride fundraiser.

Your pool rode in the second vehicle of the procession, behind an Iowa State Patrol cruiser and ahead of a pickup truck carrying pool photographers. After the pool, Ernst and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – both helmeted, clad in leather and riding Harleys – headed the pack.

The full extent of the motorcycle procession was never visible from the pool vehicle, but segments of it could be glimpsed around corners and on the up- or down-slope of hills, riding in a staggered formation in which riders rode alternately on the left or right side of a single lane.

With 300 riders each separated by at least 20 feet (which is probably a conservative estimate for the distance kept by the riders) the procession would stretch 6,000 feet – more than a mile.

From 2nd Street, the long procession headed northwest along Beaver Avenue, a largely residential two-lane country road through exurban Polk County that passed by Camp Dodge, the Iowa National Guard installation to which Ernst has been attached for much of her Guard service.

Your pool’s experience with motorcycles is basically limited to the movies “Easy Rider” and “Dumb and Dumber,” but the breezy, cool and overcast conditions appeared just about ideal for riding.

The bikers turned back eastward to traverse the Mile long Bridge at Saylorville Lake at 11:49 a.m., then wove through the small town of Polk City before turning northwesterly and then due north on Iowa Highway 17 for the Central Iowa Expo grounds.

Past Polk City the suburban housing ran out into open fields of young corn and bean crops dotted with red barns and farmhouses.

Several key intersections were regulated by law enforcement that held off cross traffic to keep the procession together. At Madrid, an even smaller town in Boone County, a man and a woman stood outside a Subway sandwich shop waving miniature American flags. Along the way, the processional passed four Casey’s General Stores, one Kum & Go and one Git & Go, but made no stops.

Pool arrived at the Roast and Ride site at the Central Iowa Expo in rural Boone County at 12:25 p.m. and separated from the procession of motorcycles while they continued to another location on the expo grounds. The total distance traveled was about 39 miles.

1:55p – Ernst says we need a leader in the White House who will take the United States back to where we need to be as a world leader.

1:53p – Ben Carson came by the media tent, and told Breitbart News that the Washington Post article about his campaign was yellow journalism.  His campaign, he said is not in chaos and the transitions of staff from PACs was planned.  Ernst is now up welcoming the large crowd that is hear.

1:42p – The Nadas are done with their first set.  The first line up of speakers – state officials should be on pretty soon.  Ernst is doing a press avail so I’ll be peeling off for that.  Ben Carson just arrived.

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1:36p – I should note that Herky was not the little birdie.

1:34p – A little birdie told me that Gov. Scott Walker’s announcement will be coming down right around when the SCOTUS decision on marriage comes down.  Also Donald Trump will make his announcement on June 16th in New York and then will come out to Iowa.

1:33p – Herky just stopped by to say hi.  If you didn’t know he’s a Republican.

1:30p – The Nadas are currently playing their first set.  Here are some pictures from the day so far.

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