Three Meals: Iowa voters talk gun control and health care ahead of 2020

Three Meals: What matters to Iowa voters

Voters in Iowa will be the first to weigh in on which Democrat should take on Donald Trump. In a "CBS This Morning" original series "Three Meals," CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe spoke with the state's voters at the Iowa State Fair, which attracted more than a million people to Des Moines. O'Keefe spoke with voters over breakfast, lunch, and dinner about the issues that matter to them most. 


Breakfast: Hardenbrook's 

A day at the fair begins early, as thousands who camp out overnight go in search of breakfast. We visited Hardenbrook's, where we met Democrats Dennis and Janet Hampton. They've been coming to the fair since they got married half a century ago.
 
"I've got a lot of friends who are Republicans too, and they're saying the same thing: 'We gotta work together now,'" Dennis said.

Both Hamptons said they're concerned about climate change, and turned off by the president's approach to immigration. "We're all immigrants, bar none," Dennis said.

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Breakfast at Hardenbrook's  CBS News

Iowans have a reputation for being nice -- so when the Hamptons see fighting in Washington, they offer some home-cooked advice.

"Sit down and talk about it," Janet said. "Communication, don't say Republican and Democrat."

"Keep your mouth shut more," Dennis added.

Lunch: The Rib Shack

Most eating at the fair happens on the go. More than 80 food items are available on a stick -- but the fair is also a display of Iowa's farming might. One of the most popular sights is the famous butter cow, which attracts tens of thousands of people each day.
 
About 85% of Iowa's land is used for agriculture. It exports about $10 billion worth of goods, but that's been on the decline because of the fight over trade and tariffs. We visited the Rib Shack for lunch, where we caught up with Georgia Gent, a farmer from Wellman, and her friend, Jane Ackerman. The pair were concerned about President Trump's tweets regarding trade with China, which have the potential to sway the market.

"Yeah, tens of thousands of dollars can be lost," Gent said. "If you're looking out for the country, if you're looking out for the family farmer, we don't need to have controversy like that."

"And how the farmer does affects us, big time," Ackerman said. "If they don't have a good year, they're not going to be buying, you know, a $10,000 mower in the spring."

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Lunch at The Rib Shack CBS News


 
Ackerman and her family sell golf carts and lawn mowers in eastern Iowa. And while business is good, they said they're feeling the impact of the president's policies.
 
"Right now we're having huge problems getting parts to fix mowers," Ackerman said. "We can't fix it because we can't get the part, and that's hard, very hard."
 
Gent, a Democrat, likes former vice president Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but she's keeping an open mind. "Before the election I want to see everybody that I'm interested in," she said.

Ackerman said she voted for President Trump in 2016, but doesn't feel he's delivered. "I am a registered Republican, but I'm just ready for change," she said.

Max Bertsos and his girlfriend Brette Deaton are young Democrats who support "Medicare for All." They currently get their health care through their employers, but would be willing to part ways with that system.
 
"Through my job I still have a $2,000 deductible," Deaton said. "I'd rather pay some in taxes up front and know that I can go to the doctor whenever I feel like I need to."
 
Bertsos recently moved to Des Moines from Dayton, Ohio, and was shaken by the recent mass shooting there. "That was 15 minutes away from my house," he said said.

Bertsos and Deaton even felt some nervousness coming to the fair because of the shooting.

"It's really terrifying," Deaton said. "I'm fairly firmly pro-gun control. At the end of the day, I think we gotta to try something, though, because doing nothing has just made it worse and worse and worse."

Dinner: Craft beer


Fun at the fair continues well after dark, with rides, live music and beer. At a craft beer tent, O'Keefe met conservative Phil Stanislav, who said he wants "somebody who's going to just tell it like it is -- and you may not like what he tells, but he tells it the way he sees it." 

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Craft beer with Iowa voters CBS News

Another voter, soybean farmer Amy Staudt, said she supports the administration's tariff strategy. "He's rocking boats right now, Trump is, and I don't know if it's a bad thing, so I'm going to sit back and wait," Staudt said. But even though she's a Trump supporter, she said she's open to voting for a Democrat. 

"I want to see someone that's going to change what happens in our farm community, our small business community, our health insurance," Staudt said.