I've spent most of the day with Ron Paul supporters at Ames, and there are lots of them -- but most of the ones I've talked to are from out of state. Lots of Gophers, lots of Badgers, lots of people who can't cast a straw poll ballot. They make a hell of a contrast with the bright yellow T-shirted lines of Romney voters, all bussed in from corners of the state at the Mittster's expense. The Paul folks are tweaking them like crazy, marching past their Barnum-and-Bailey-sized tent and soundstage chanting, and shouting down the Mitt folks by yelling "We're not paid volunteers!" Romney will have the last laugh: He'll win by a landslide.
- Mike Huckabee hired a comedian/impressionist who stood in front of an empty row of chairs making dumb jokes and singing songs in the voice of... George W. Bush. Stuff like an Animals pastiche called "Oh Laura, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderestimated." A sign of the base's abandonment of Bush or a sign of Huckabee's goofiness?
- Some grist for the goofiness theory: Huckabee's bizzare speech, which Ryan Sager sums up:
The end of Huckabee's speech is really odd. Huckabee talks about bringing his daughter to the Israeli Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. In the guestbook, his daughter wrote: "Why didn't somebody do something?" Well, he tells the crowd, "Right here in Ames, Iowa, you're the somebody, you can do something." (So, let me get this straight: Voting for Huckabee = preventing the Holocaust? Somebody explain this to me... seriously.) The evil they would prevent: "[electing] a president based on the raising of money."
- Laura Ingraham could barely speak over the roar of Ron Paul supporters drowning out her introduction. When they filed out after the speech, chanting again, she tried to snark back at them: "There goes the peace train!"
- The (two) Alan Keyes booth(s) are far larger than the ad hoc Fred Thompson booth.