The Iowa straw poll gets under way this weekend for Republican presidential hopefuls. And even though the contest is considered unofficial and non-binding, Republican candidates were out in the field Saturday morning, trying to show voters and contributors that they have the right stuff.
"Come on Ann, we'll get the job done," candidate Mitt Romney said to his wife as they were off to flip slabs of pork at the Iowa State Fair.
The Romney camp expects to win in Iowa, but they're not just satisfied with winning, they want to win big and boost his lagging national poll numbers.
One new Romney television ad is aimed at pumping up supporters and convincing them to make the trip to central Iowa.
In June, two top-tier Republicans -- Rudy Giuliani and John McCain -- announced their decision not to compete in the straw poll. The campaigns claimed it was largely a decision not to spend the money required for a first rate effort, but Mitt Romney's strong organization and poll numbers in Iowa also likely had something to do with it.
Now, Romney's main challengers are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who visited Iowa's famous "Field of Dreams" baseball field Friday.
On his Web site this week, Brownback issued a stinging attack on Romney:
"Mitt Romney has supported taxpayer funding of abortion," Brownback said. "Mitt Romney recently, as recently as 2005, said he continued to take and was in a pro choice position."
"Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback think Mitt Romney is most vulnerable on the flip-flopping issue, particularly on the issue of abortion," said David Yepsen, a political analyst with The Des Moines Register.
There are still two wild cards in the deck, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who is still unannounced but on the straw poll ballot, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the anti-war libertarian.