TAPPER: Here in Iowa, it's been a heck of a week. The Republican candidates were out in full force, and Iowa welcomed them as only Iowa can. Here's a look back at some of the sights and sounds.
TAPPER (voice-over): Ah, August in Iowa. People flocked to the state fair in Des Moines. They come for the rides, the music, the animals, and the food.
(on-screen): If you can put it on a stick and fry it, you can probably get it here at the Iowa state fair. This year's big hit: deep-fried butter on a stick.
(UNKNOWN): Here's one butter, OK?
TAPPER (voice-over): Yes, that's right, four ounces of butter dipped in honey and cinnamon, then deep fried and drizzled with a sugary glaze.
(UNKNOWN): Oh, championship bite.
TAPPER: Surprisingly, even with all this fried grub, Iowa is only the 20th most obese state in the nation. And as you might expect, all these Iowans attract a flock of Republican candidates, stumping for the first test on the road to the nomination, the Iowa straw poll.
(on-screen): You have all these Republican candidates converging on your wonderful state. Do you have a favorite?
(UNKNOWN): We like a couple of them. No one really stands out terrifically, unfortunately, but we really like Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.
TAPPER: As Iowans, you guys are so used to candidates coming and working hard for your vote.
(UNKNOWN): Yes, that's kind of like Romney. You know -- I mean, you know where he stands. He's never -- hasn't been here, because I don't think he wants to get beat, because I think he'd get beat.
TAPPER (voice-over): National frontrunner Mitt Romney, who is not mounting a very serious challenge in Iowa, at least publicly, is here nonetheless. He was here on Thursday grilling pork.
ROMNEY: You guys got to pay $10 bucks for that, you know.
TAPPER: And trying to connect with an unfriendly crowd.
ROMNEY: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid account for about half of federal spending.
(UNKNOWN): A lie!
ROMNEY: Just hold on. One is we could raise taxes on people. That's not the way...
ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We could raise taxes on...
(UNKNOWN): No, they're not!
ROMNEY: Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.
Where do you think it goes?
(UNKNOWN): It goes into their pockets.
ROMNEY: Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets.
TAPPER: Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman could be found at the butter cow sculpture, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Attendees can show their political preference with kernels of corn. President Obama was way ahead in the kernel vote, but the president wasn't getting much love from the candidates at Thursday night's debate on Fox News Channel, although many of the salvos were aimed at each other.
PAWLENTY: It's undisputable fact that in Congress her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent.
BACHMANN: You said the era of small government was over. That sounds a lot more like Barack Obama, if you ask me.
PAWLENTY: She's got record of misstating and making false statements.
GINGRICH: There's too much attention paid by the press corps about the campaign minutiae and not enough paid by the press corps to the basic ideas that distinguish us from Barack Obama.