John Cox has a giant inflatable balloon. Ron Paul's campaign sign is hoisted up by a forklift. His volunteers wear teeshirts emblazoned with the slogan "Every generation needs a new Revolution" The "evol" is transposed to spell "Love." (not war.) The Fair Tax folks have cooling fans. The Mike Huckabee camp has branded water and realistic expectations, courtesy of Sarah Huckabee, his daughter. I asked her, "How many people do you expect to show up?" "Well, I didn't ask so I could say I wouldn't know," she said.
"But you've bought tickets for people, right?"
"Yes, and we'll buy more if we need too."
As she chatted with some reporters, her mother Janet was on a photographic expedition of the rest of the ISU athletic complexes. I caught her snapping a picture of Sam Brownback's RV. (Truth be told, Huckabee's RV is pretty sweet too."
The former Arkansas governor himself was tuning up a subwoofer on stage. His band, Capitol Offense, would start momentarily. Three camera crews -- two from foreign countries and one from Arkansas waited at the apron of the stage.
Mitt Romney's -- well, you've have to call it a fair -- has the best location. It's equidistant between all three straw poll voting locations. It's divided into three areas. One, for kids, features six carnival rides. Then there's a snazzy stage adorned with Romney banners and scrims. His campaign has rented what must be the largest tent in all of Iowa. They're expecting thousands... although stubborn Tim Albrecht, Romney's Iowa press director, just won't give us the number of buses the Romney team has rented -- it exceeds 150 -- but we don't really need that. (Matt Rhoades, Romney's national communications director, did offer up a competing nugget: Romney has 250 volunteers on premises.
Oh, and if geography is destiny, Romney, Sam Brownback and Ron Paul are in peachy shape. Romney's tents occupy the George W. Bush space from 1999; Brownback is located where Steve Forbes's riches bought him a second place finish that year, and Paul's tent is closest to the site where Phil Gramm (helped by a younger John Weaver) surprised the 1995 field to tie with Bob Dole.
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