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Hundreds Rally at Central Iowa Democratic BBQ Event

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AMES, Iowa -- Former Maryland Governor Martin O' Malley and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headlined the Central Iowa Democrat Fall Barbecue Sunday afternoon.

Both candidates touched on similar issues as Saturday night's debate but supporters say they don't mind.

“There are a lot of likenesses but there are still a lot of differences so you really need to get in front of people and be visible,” said Sandy Opstvedt.

Of the nearly 600 people in attendance, many of them spent Sunday's rally weeding through the candidates differences in their policies. Iowa State University student, Maddie Rastll, says she is looking for the candidate who ultimately has the best in mind for college students.

“I think that`s what the younger generation is looking for. Free college tuition and raising the minimum wage," she said.

It's important the candidates make their stances clear to Iowans now. This weekend is the last time all three will share a debate stage in the state until the Iowa Caucuses.

Clinton told the crowd, “I want young people to know I think college is great. I want to make college affordable and get debt down. I also want a full range of options for our young people and not so young people who need to re-skilled, who may have lost a job and need a second chance.”

O’Malley’s stance on the issue is similar but says if he were president he would take a different approach.

“I have put forward a plan to move us to debt free college in five years for all American families, and unlike the other candidates I have had experience getting this done as governor,” he said. “We were the only state to go four years in a row to go without an increase in college tuition.”

While supporters say their candidates approach to the same issue may be different, at least their party is on the same page.

“They have to get really into the weeds to try and delineate their policies. Whereas with the Republicans, there are some huge differences in policies,” said Todd Vens.

Former Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders did not attend the event, activist Cornel West served as his surrogate.

Sanders spoke to a group at Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines on Sunday afternoon. He later held a town hall meeting in Indianola.