Mitt Romney campaigns at the EdVenture Museum in Columbia, South Carolina, Wednesday.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Three front-runners for the Republican nomination brought three very different campaign styles to South Carolina this week, ping-ponging around the Palmetto State trying to win over the crucial mass of primary voters still unsure about which Republican is the "real" conservative in the race.
One candidate with a gravelly, Southern drawl talked about grits and accused his Massachusetts rival of trying to "buy South Carolina."
That rival was also in the state, managing to work in five campaign stops in just over 24 hours, including a speech in front of a 40-foot indoor plastic sculpture named Eddie, a giant interactive children's museum exhibit touted as the "world's largest child."
And a former mayor from New York City jetted in at the last minute for about an hour, shook some hands, then turned around and left.
It began Tuesday morning in Columbia, when Fred Thompson was nearly 30 minutes late to an event at the State House, where he was to announce a "Vets for Fred" coalition with several decorated military veterans who were not, apparently, supporting decorated military veteran Sen. John McCain.
A dedicated South Carolina field organizer for the "Divided We Fail" campaign looked at his watch and mulled over going back to the office.
"Some of us got work to do," he said.
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– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby