DES MOINES---GOP White House hopeful Ron Paul--poised to win, place or show in the Tuesday Iowa caucus--seemed please to find himself facing a packed room here on Monday.
"This is almost like a real rally," Paul said facing the crowd at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Des Moines.
What he did not know is that almost every one of the 100 or so seats in front of him was filled with folks not from Iowa--political tourists and high school and college students here to observe the first-in-the nation vote for president.
Vanderbilt University in Nashville had 20 students in prime seats.There were kids from Truman State in Missouri, Taylor High School in Cincinnati, a high school in Minneapolis and from the Chicago area, students from Benedictine University in Lisle. There was an academic from the University of Texas, Austin and some friends from Wisconsin who just came to soak in all the politics.
Benedictine's Phillip Hardy, an assistant professor of political science told me he brought four political science students and one studying journalism.
There were Iowans in the crowd of several hundred--but at least a third were from out-of-state, here for the political show.