When presidential-nomination hopeful John Edwards' Tuesday plans to bus through Iowa were canceled because of the severe ice storm, he decided to visit a recent hot spot for campaigning politicians -- Iowa City's Hamburg Inn.
The former North Carolina senator briefly walked through the restaurant -- to which former President Bill Clinton dropped by for a bite in late November -- and shook the hands of the roughly 20 diners before briefly speaking to press outside the establishment, 214 N. Linn St.
"I'm happy to be in Iowa," Edwards said. "If one has to be snowed in somewhere, Iowa City is not a bad place to be."
During his brief 10-minute stay, he spoke about his positive outlook on the upcoming weeks that are preceding the all-important Iowa caucus.
"It's getting down to crunch time, and people are making decisions," he said. "I want to make certain they know what my ideas are for this country."
He said that he believes in his supporters and expects a strong turnout come Jan. 3, 2008.
"We have an epic fight in front of us, and I'm the one to carry this fight," Edwards said.
According to a recent "Newsweek" poll, Edwards stands in third place in the Democratic race among likely caucus-goers. "Newsweek" predicts Edwards is holding 18 percent of those votes, behind Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton at 35 and 29 percent respectively.
Hawkeyes for Edwards President Mike Juntunen, who was present for the presidential hopeful's Hamburg visit, said he's not surprised Edwards decided to drop by the 59-year-old Iowa City establishment.
"He had to cancel his events, and because everyone comes to Hamburg, why not?" Juntunen said, adding that because the visit wasn't planned, it should seem more genuine.
But not all the Hamburg diners saw it that way.
Bettendorf resident Bill Flynn was eating at the restaurant with two of his friends when Edwards visited. He said the whole experience was "weird" because he expected Edwards made quick stops to locally known restaurants all over the country.
"It's his job, shaking peoples' hands for two seconds" the 23-year-old said. "It's a process that doesn't have much to do with why I would vote for somebody."
© 2007 The Daily Iowan via U-WIRE