Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - Just a few days ago, two potential Republican presidential candidates traveled to this Midwestern hub and in a span of 24 hours addressed some of the most powerful GOP conservative activists in the country.
During separate speeches Saturday at the Iowa Republican State Convention, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul never mentioned their possible candidacies for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. But neither had to do so.
It was a given. This is Iowa after all, the first of three very important stops that can make or break a presidential candidacy.
"We have a disproportionate belief that we get to meet the candidates," Ed Failor Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief, said as he looked out at the 1,000-plus Republican activists who sacrificed a Saturday morning for the party gathering. "And people are really put out if it isn't easy for them to meet a candidate. So you have got to be willing to do that work here."