If we've learned anything from watching the GOP's would-be presidential nominees crisscross Iowa these last few months, it's that the campaign trail never runs out of ways to make people appear silly in full public view. The state of Iowa compounded the problem by offering constant stream of meat-on-a-stick, gargantuan pastries, and various other artery-clogging delights for the candidates to admire or awkwardly consume. With caucus night still a few hours away, we've sifted through the Reuters archives and put together a scrapbook of some of the images that made us smile, or feel vaguely queasy.
Mitt Romney has always had the air of a frontrunner, even while chowing down on fried pork chop last August at the State Fair. At first glance, he just looks a very wealthy man enjoying a very messy ice cream cone.
At the same event, rivals Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry made the regrettable decision to go with corn dogs rather than impaled chops. Perry had to ever-so-delicately take possession of his, while Bachmann got herself into a genuine mess by taking a bite, then deciding she wanted a little mustard. As she soon found out, that's nearly an impossible adjustment to make in-meal.
Rick Perry did not have an easy go of things, though he did get to hold a lovely coconut pie for a few moments. But he had to put it down right after the photo.
Like the decision to buy a candy apple, the Newt Gingrich boomlet seemed reasonable at the time. But also like a candy apple, people got tired of him after four seconds.
That blurry man is Rick Santorum, sampling the chicken and mayo salad that the manager of the Pizza Ranch in Boone has decided to name after him. Look for it the next time you're in Iowa and a bunch of 15-year-olds have the Pizza Ranch send you food you didn't order.
This was the scene last April in the town of Adel, at what was supposed to be a dinner thrown by the local Republican party. As Michele Bachmann found out, in Iowa, dinner is sometimes code for pie. Lots and lots of pie.
Rick Perry took a mighty bite of deviled egg on a stick. But that doesn't begin to explain why he felt it was necessary to pick up a second one.
The good news for Iowa is that the general election is right around the corner. So steel yourself for the sight of the President of the United States downing another sandwich that's bigger than his head, which he already did back in August.