American Dispatch - The Last Week in Iowa By Rich Johnson Senior National Correspondent, Fox News Radio
This is my fourth trip to Iowa in 2011, and my fifth in two years. The campaign 'kicked off' at the Iowa State Fair - the 2010 Iowa State Fair.
I also attended the kickoff of Tim Pawlenty's short-lived campaign, as well as the The Iowa Straw Poll in Ames. Here's Michele Bachmann thanking supporters shortly after her Straw Poll victory.
A day later, she had to share the stage her hometown of Waterloo with new candidate Rick Perry. Both have had their time in the sun, and both are now trying to overcome single-digit poll numbers going into the final week.
It's now the final week before the Iowa Caucuses - and the final days for some of the candidates. So I'm lurking around Des Moines this week looking for news.
The first big news of this campaign: It's NOT SNOWING! The days are sunny, with highs in the mid 40's - positively balmy. If that weather holds next Tuesday, it's going to help the candidates with not-so-complete organizations. If there's a blizzard, some caucuses could be mistaken for meetings of chapters of the Ron Paul Fan Club.
I promise to keep the snark to a minimum, but I couldn't resist this:
The first Godfather's Pizza I've seen in decades - a month too late. This is in Adele, Iowa, about 25 miles west of Des Moines, which also looks like this:
Welcome to Doc's Hunt Club just outside Adele. Somewhere in the distance, Rick Santorum is hunting for pheasants with two of his sons, Iowa Congressman Steve King and several locals.
We reporters sit on the deck, or just inside the clubhouse, where Gunner the dog is holding court.
Gunner isn't all that interested in the reporters. He's VERY interested in the big crock pot filed with pheasant noodle soup - for the candidate and his folks, not for us. I eventually retired to the deck, because the smell is torturously good.
Eventually, Santorum and company return, and he talks about hunting, the campaign and the fact that he's not yet received the endorsement of Congressman King.
He also makes sure we notice the 'NRA' hat. Today, it's 'bus tour' day for Gingrich, Romney, Perry and Bachmann. Santorum also has a busy day, but no official 'bus tour.' Ron Paul is also expected in Iowa for at least a couple of days this week. Listen HERE to some of Rich Johnson's reporting from Des Moines, Iowa: