Windy City Blues

From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

CHICAGO -- And it's not even winter yet …

That was the mantra that swirled in my head as I went through a nasty cycle of cancelled and rebooked flights while trying to catch up with the Romney campaign in Des Moines, Iowa. I'll spare you the details of my travel nightmare, but let's just say that after several hope-filled trips to O'Hare airport late last night and this morning, I'm writing this post from my hotel room in Chicago. Since the airline won't release my checked luggage, I'm stuck in the same clothes I wore yesterday with only a mini-toothbrush and a half-stick of deodorant to show for my woes.

Trying to keep up on commercial flights with a presidential candidate who flies private is difficult enough in fair weather. But in the midst of a Midwestern ice storm, it becomes next to impossible.

When Iowa was slammed by a similar ice storm just nine days ago, Governor Romney's campaign canceled all public events for the day. But that was when Romney was still ahead in the polls. This time the campaign went forward with its scheduled photo-op in Des Moines, to the chagrin of at least one member of the Romney press corps who made the trip to Iowa but said he skidding off the road twice on the way to the event.

There are so many variables that could decide the outcome of the Iowa caucuses, and perhaps none more unpredictable than the weather. If the roads are as slick on January 3 as they are today, the vote may very well hinge on which candidate's supporters drive the most snow-worthy vehicles.

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.