C-SPAN will provide extensive live coverage of a key early stop for GOP presidential candidates: this week's Iowa State Fair in Des Moines and Saturday's Ames Iowa Republican Straw Poll.
The public-affairs network's live coverage begins Thursday (Aug. 11) at 11:30 a.m. ET with speeches by Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann at the Des Moines Register's soap-box booth at the Iowa State Fair.
On Friday (Aug. 12), coverage continues from the State Fair at 11:30 a.m. ET with remarks by Herman Cain, Thaddeus McCotter, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty. Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also scheduled to speak.
Saturday, live coverage of the Iowa Republican Straw Poll in Ames begins at noon ET with a preview program on the history and the impact of the 32-year old event, which is also a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party.
C-SPAN's live straw poll telecast begins at 1 p.m. ET from the campus of Iowa State University at the Hilton Coliseum and continues until the balloting concludes and a winner is chosen.
The Ames Straw Poll is the most prominent of the in-person Iowa polls, drawing activists from around the state in a test of organizational strength. Iowa residents over the age of 18 can vote for one of the nine Republican candidates on the straw poll ballot, but only these six will speak at the event: Bachmann, Cain, McCotter, Paul, Pawlenty, and Santorum. Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mitt Romney appear on the ballot but are not scheduled to speak.
C-SPAN viewers can join in the political conversation by phone and on Facebook. Straw poll news in conjunction with C-SPAN coverage will be live-tweeted via the network's "Road to the White House" Twitter feed. Ames coverage will be simulcast on C-SPAN Radio (90.1 FM in the DC/Baltimore area) and XM Satellite Radio channel 119. Mobile users can hear the coverage via the C-SPAN free Radio iPhone and Blackberry apps. Livestream simulcast coverage will be available via C-SPAN's website.
Ames also marks the kickoff event for C-SPAN's new Campaign 2012 bus. The bus engages visitors through interactive multimedia demonstrations, allowing them to experience C-SPAN's public affairs content available via HD, online, radio and social media and new applications.
In partnership with Mediacom, C-SPAN's Iowa cable affiliate, the C-SPAN Campaign 2012 bus will be in Iowa for the week leading up to the straw poll, and will be on site at the Ames event. See pictures of the bus here on flickr.