Good morning folks –

Between his handlers closely guarding him from folks at the State Fair, video emerging of him berating a female witness over her level of education and saying that the most important place he goes is his exclusive gym for Congressmen, it was another rough week for Washington liberal Bruce Braley.

The News That Drove The Week …

During his lone visit to the State Fair, Braley’s handlers built a wall to separate their boss from Iowans.  As the National Journal reports:  The staffers served as a buffer between Braley and the handful of GOP trackers and hecklers who trailed him—one man dressed as a chicken, another as a pig—but ultimately ended up keeping away regular people as well. It seemed to annoy fairgoers more than endear him to them.  “Gimme a break,” one man said as he tried to pass by Braley and the group in the Varied Industries Building.

Roll Call reports that Braley moved quickly though the State Fair.  During the fair, Braley moved rapidly, shook few hands, volunteers formed a barrier around him.

Roll Call’s photojournalist Tom Williams captures the moment of Braley’s handlers creating the barrier between him and folks at the fair.  Braley delivered his stump speech on Thursday and then walked the grounds with a motley crew in tow, including: staff, reporters, filmmakers, opposition trackers, hecklers holding signs and random hangers-on. 

The Washington Free Beacon reports that in 2009, Braley went out his way to berate a female witness over her level of education before his colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.  Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) has a long history of making elitist comments in Congress. … Braley’s record of elitism goes back much farther. At a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing in 2009, he questioned the credentials of Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.  Despite authoring several books and articles as a noted health care expert, Braley repeatedly peppered Pipes with questions about whether she was a “health policy expert,” whether she had an “advanced degree in economics,” and whether she was a “scholar.”

WHO-AM Radio reports that during an interview with a Florida radio station, Braley proudly said that he talks to Iowans “in terms they can understand.”  In a 2011 radio interview in Florida – apparently he still doesn’t have time to keep his promise to come on my show – Congressman Bruce Braley says he overcomes his elitist image by talking to Iowans “in terms they can understand”. Well that should go a long way to getting rid of that whole “elitist” thing!

The Weekly Standard reports that a couple of years ago, Braley went before the Des Moines Register and told them the most important place he visits is his exclusive gym for Congress.  Once considered a leading Democratic recruit, Braley has feverishly been fending off a perception that he’s elitist and out of touch with regular Iowa voters. … In one clip, shot during a 2012 interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, Braley says the gym in the House of Representatives is “one of the most important places I go.”

David Kochel reminds Iowans that Braley traded in his work boots for tasseled loafers.  As MSNBC reports:  “He’s out of touch,” David Kochel, an adviser to Ernst, told msnbc. “He may have grown up in a small town but he traded in the work boots for the tasseled loafers as a lawyer.”

The Washington Examiner reports that Braley is a deeply flawed candidate.  Rep. Bruce Braley can’t seem to catch a break in his race to become Iowa’s next U.S. senator. The Democrat’s nearly constant stream of gaffes and embarrassing campaign discoveries provides plenty of material for a roundup of his worst greatest hits.

Radio Iowa’s Kay Henderson reports that Joni Ernst released a new commercial highlighting her service to the Iowa Army National Guard.  In late July, the Ernst campaign held an event with her fellow soldiers and other veterans where she talked about the Guard.  “It’s Iowans helping Iowans and we saw that every single day that we were deployed,” Ernst said.  The new Ernst ad stresses that during times of natural disaster, the Guard helps Iowans, regardless of which party they may belong to and she’s been making that case in speeches, too.

The Quad City Times reports that Joni Ernst was in Scott County where she blasted the EPA for their job-killing regulations against Iowa’s farmers.  On a campaign stop Tuesday in the Quad-Cities, Iowa Republican Senate hopeful Joni Ernst criticized the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to clarify how waterways will be defined under the Clean Water Act.

Roll Call’s photojournalist Tom Williams reports on his experience at the State Fair with Senator Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.  Ernst was walking around with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and I was able to get some good shots of Ernst talking with voters.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reports that Joni Ernst is running a terrific campaign.  State Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has run a terrific campaign for the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D) and has been aided by the stumbles of Rep. Bruce Braley (D).

The Tweets That Drove The Week … 

@JoniErnst:  What a great crowd at last night’s @StoryCountyGOP dinner! #IASEN

@JoniForIowa:  .@joniernst stresses “good neighbor” message in Ames speech; “It’s our Iowa Way to help a neighbor in need.” #IASEN

@DavidPolyansky:  RT: @RNC: Out-of-touch elitist @BruceBraley talks down to Iowans “in terms they can understand.”

@DToddHarris:  ROLLCALL: Walking the fair with Braley and Ernst is like experiencing night and day….People seem to want to hug her back. #iasen

@DDKochel:  .@brucebraley talked to two DC reporters and… staffers & “rarely stopped to shake hands or meet people” #iasen 

@IAmKohan:  Spoken like a true DC elitist: Braley says most important place he goes is the House Gym.  #IASEN

@BDayspring:  By missing 80% of Veterans Committee Hearings? Hmmmm. MT@TeamBraley: Iowa veterans know Bruce is fighting for them  #IAsen

@Brook_H:  “Residents were outraged at the way the Braleys handled the situation.”  #iasen