Small town Iowa voters relish opportunity to meet big names

HOLSTEIN, Iowa -- Burrowed within the wintry landscape of western Iowa, between Moville and Sac City, is the town of Holstein -- population 1,300.

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Anne Petersen

CBS News

It's where you'll find the Midwest Deli and Grill and proprietor Anne Petersen. The place was buzzing this week because a candidate for president was stopping by.

There's a greater frequency and urgency to such events in Iowa now as the caucuses draw near. The candidates, camera crews, and correspondents are all part of the traveling show.

"I realize, you know, the other states probably think we get a little special treatment, but you know we don't have Times Square, we don't get the ball that comes down here. This is our whole thing," said Petersen.

The remaining Republican candidates have spent between 11 and 68 days apiece in Iowa over the last year. The three Democrats have spent over 30 days each.

Petersen has seen many over the years. "I can't remember [which ones] because none of them won," she said.

It was two below when Carly Fiorina came in from the cold. About 75 people, including 22 kindergartners, braved the chill to take her measure.

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A young child at Carly Fiorina's event in Holstein, Iowa

CBS News

"We have that privilege here in Iowa. And if you've not met the President of the United States, it's because you didn't really care to," Mark Leonard, a regular at Petersen's deli, said.

Holstein is heavily Republican, and energized.

They know they may have a profound effect on U.S. history, and they relish the opportunity, as fleeting as it may be.

"You know, all you have to do is put forth a little effort and you can meet all of these people and it's really nice," Petersen said. And one of them could end up being the president.

There's a story about an older gentlemen in Holstein who was asked if he'd made up his mind yet. He said he was leaning toward one candidate, but wasn't sure yet because he'd met him only eight times.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.