August 11th, 2007
07:35 PM ET
16 years ago

It's getting hot in Iowa

Supporters of Mitt Romney cheer Saturday at the Iowa straw poll in Ames.

AMES, Iowa (CNN)- The temperature’s rising here on the campus of Iowa State University, and the politics are heating up as well. Voting is underway at the Ames straw poll, the first crucial vote in the battle for the Republican Presidential Nomination. But while the voting takes place inside, some of the real action is going on outside.

It’s like a carnival atmosphere here, with music, rides, food, and of course, lots of politics. The eight GOP White House hopefuls taking part in the straw poll each have their own tents where supporters are gathering.

I just took a short walk through and saw that Sam Brownback came prepared. His campaign tent is the only one with air conditioning. A smart move by the Senator from Kansas, since the mercury’s expected to peak in the mid 90’s today. Brownback was just on stage, joined by his family, speaking to supporters. Outside Brownback’s tent, children are playing on rides and slides, including a climbing wall. It may be a political event, but it feels like an amusement park.

Next to the Brownback tent is the Romney compound. The former Massachusetts Governor has the largest operation in Ames, and it shows. On a large stage a bluegrass band is playing, just one of the many musical acts entertaining Romney supporters. The candidate’s five sons were also just on the stage, applauding supporters of their father’s bid for the White House.

Mike Huckabee also has a large area of tents for his supporters. The former Arkansas Governor is a minister. But a lesers known fact is that Huckabee plays bass guitar in a band, and right now he’s on stage, giving his supporters some musical politics. Team Huckabee is also keeping them cool by handing out chilled water bottles adorned with his name.

Rep. Duncan Hunter may be low in the national polls, but one of his supporters is standing 12 feet tall. The Hunter supporter is walking on stilts. Just part of the fun.

It’s not only the presidential candidates showing off here in Ames. There are booths for dozens of other political causes. The Fair Tax dot Org gang has a large hot air balloon. We’ve seen them at a number of the political debates so far this campaign season. They want to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax.

A man dressed up as a snowman just walked by. He’s got a “make global warming a priority” sign on him. And with the mercury rising, who can blame him. But I feel sorry for the guy. It must be hot as heck under that snowman suit.

Just a few yards away is the Live Strong Bus. That’s the organization created by Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, who’s also a cancer survivor. Live Strong sells those yellow wrist bracelets with proceeds going to help find a cure for cancer.

But wait, there’s more. I’ve been approached by what you could call some really longshot candidates for President. None of them are on the ballot today. They’re mostly one man bands, hoping for any attention. But that’s what makes this country so special. Anybody can run for President.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

Filed under: Iowa • Race to '08
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mike in Atlanta GA

    I just listened to the phone calls on C-span that were taken after the speeches and supporters from all over the country were praising Ron Paul. Of course this article doesn't even mention his name. The bias of the lamestream media is truly amazing.

    August 11, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Jake, Baton Rouge LA

    I noticed that, too.

    It's really a shame that the "media" won't give Paul a fair shake. You really have to dig on CNN to find anything on Ron Paul.

    August 11, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. don

    Cnn doesn't cover Ron Paul because he is not a serious candidate yet. might i remind you he is 1 percent. you have to make money and gain traction to get the coverage. it is nothing new. just how elections work. I am barely behind ron paul in the polls.

    August 11, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. Ron Rules, Internet, USA

    I believe my own delusions rather than any “scientific” things I don’t understand. Why pay attention to “facts” or “reality” when we can trust internet polls and anecdotes?

    The last time Ron Paul ran for President (in 1988) he got .47% of the vote. If the mainstream media would just give him a chance he could double that this year.

    Ron will blow the lid off the 9/11 Area 51 alien cospiracy and usher in a thousand years of peace and goodness. When Ron is elected he will ban taxes, abortions and wars and we’ll all get big bags of free weed!


    August 11, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. number nine, pasadena, ca

    the fact that Dr.Paul's support presence does not show up on what one other referred to as the "lamestream" media, is evidence of the media creating the news, rather than reporting on it; the lame excuse for low current standings is then a self-fulfilling prophecy – or should i say, self-corrupting?

    August 11, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. Bob, Dallas, TX

    We need to stop listening to those mainstream media, why are we here, it's so biaised. I'm disgusted and close my CNN window after this.

    Go Ron Paul

    August 11, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  7. Brian, Cedar Rarpids, Iowa

    Just back from a hot trip to the Iowa State Fair, and I rode RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) a few weeks ago – two of the biggest Iowa summer events – and I was surprised by the number of Ron Paul signs, shirts, and supporters. More than most of the R candidates. I won't be voting Republican this year, but I thought I'd let you Paul supporters know that there does seem to be a very visible grassroots effort and that tends to play well here in the Tall Corn State.

    August 11, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |