Another strong turnout this morning for Mitt Romney at a restaurant in Cedar Falls, though the small place wasn't quite as packed as yesterday's breakfast stop in Muscatine. Romney spent a lot of time shaking hands and posing for pictures with customers, supporters and restaurant staff, after he spoke for about 20 minutes. He usually takes a couple of questions from the crowd but did not today, preferring to spend more time than usual glad-handing.
While many see the state's Republican Party base trending more toward the evangelical Christian and Tea Party right, several of those attending these Romney events want the rest of the country to know there still is a strong moderate base in the Iowa GOP, especially in Eastern Iowa.
While acknowledging the growth of the religious right in her area, Carol Cooper of Cedar Falls said, "there are plenty of moderates. It's sort of a silent, maybe a silent majority, maybe not, but it's close," she said. "I know a lot of the activists in the country and I don't know many (of the people) here today, so that tells you, maybe a lot of the quieter ones came out."
"The Republicans should have a big umbrella," adds Carmen Halverson of Cedar Falls. "And some people are pulling it down for us. The RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) should be under that umbrella as well as the Christian Right, as far as I'm concerned."
Of course, this is the kind of sentiment you'd expect to hear at a Romney event as opposed to a rally for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Nonetheless, Romney is hoping to ride what appears to be a growing groundswell of support to victory here in Iowa. His newly released schedule indicates he'll be campaigning in Iowa Sunday and Monday and remaining in Iowa on caucus night Tuesday, rather than immediately heading to the next voting state, New Hampshire.
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