Reporting Vince Gerasole
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (CBS) – On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, there is no clear cut Republican favorite.
If anyone could tell you why, it might be the folks here at Ross’ Restaurant in Bettendorf, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.
At caucus time, the diner serves up a lot of political talk.
“Sometimes it can get a bit heated and we have to quiet them so other diners can enjoy their breakfast,” co-owner Cynthia Freidhof says.
Newt Gingrich was here a month ago; Ron Paul last Thursday. Even with the heavy hitters sitting down at the tables, no one has really made an impression on Cynthia Freidhof’s husband, Republican-voting Ron Freidhof.
“In my mind, it’s hard to find somebody that stands out in that crowd — a lot of them seem to be very similar,” he said Monday.
Folks here also have an explanation of the surges and slumps for Perry and Bachman and Gingrinch and others.
“I don’t think there really is a good person or a contender who can beat Obama,” Roger Bergfield said.
But by the pictures on the wall, it’s clear the Iowa Caucuses have given the everyday folks at Ross’s incredible access to some heavy-hitting politicians.
Cynthia Freidhof met Gingrich.
“I was trying to put a little humor into our conversation,” she said. “I even mentioned to him if he wants to come on Election Day that we serve baloney.”
Although some Iowans are flattered by the attention, not everyone thinks much of it.
“I think it’s pretty silly, yeah, we’re the first state, but it seems like by the second or third nobody really remembers it, ” Bergfield said.
The winner of the last Iowa caucuses, four years ago, was Mike Huckabee, who was then clobbered in New Hampshire, and dropped-out of the race for the Republican nomination.
The latest poll conducted by the Des Moines Register shows 24 percent of voters back Mitt Romney, and 22 percent support Ron Paul. Rick Santorum had 15 percent, trailed by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman.
But the poll also found 41 percent are either undecided or may change their mind.