Bunch o Blue Buses – Tim Pawlenty has an RV, but a good portion of the Republican field appears to have big blue buses. Bachmann, below and Herman Cain, here.
A (Very Little)Liberal Outrage – Some protesters – a handful – outside the debate site in Ames. (via ABC's Susan Archer @theonlyarcher)
Perry's Running. It's in Ink – When ABC affiliate KVUE asked Texas Gov. Perry if the reports that he was officially running for president were true, he signed and dated a print-out of the AP report. Unschool Bus – Ron Paul Supporters arrive in Ames. (via @matthewbjaffe)
I Can't Believe It's Fried Butter - As mentioned yesterday, one of the hottest foods at the state fair this year is fried butter. Despite its Southern origins, the treat keeps popping up as a staple in Iowa. Mitt Romney's legal adviser Ben Ginsburg described the taste: "It's like a cinnamon roll, but buttery-er." (via @michaelpfalcone) Nearby, Romney chowed down on a pork chop on a stick. Yum! Michael Falcone got insider tips on how the fried butter is made. According to one of the sellers, the butter is frozen, then battered and then fried. "Only so much you can do with butter," the seller said. Falcone got this picture of the finished product.
Spin, spin, spin – Matthew Jaffe tweeted this photo with the caption, "Looking forward to getting spinned until I'm so dizzy I fall down."
Dinner for Two? – Michele Bachmann announced today that she'll head to Waterloo for the Blackhawk County Lincoln GOP Dinner on Aug. 14 – the same dinner Rick Perry announced he would attend earlier this month. Though Perry is technically not in the race just yet, he told TIME's Mark Halperin, “I’m kind of getting into the all-in point and the idea that this is what I’m supposed to be doing." "Corporations are people" – Romney during a heated exchange with fairgoers at the Iowa State Fair soapbox. Here's a photo of Romney on the Des Moines Register Soapbox, tweeted by Romney staffer Eric Fehrnstrom: Fehrnstrom defended his boss over Twitter, saying, "Do folks think corporations are buildings? They're people who incorporate to conduct business. They create jobs and hire more people." Soapbox Shoutdown and Peacocks – Romney gets into a heated discussion with a fairgoer at the soapbox. The shouting fairgoer wants to know how Romney is going to protect Medicare and Social Security without cutting benefits. Romney ultimately says the fairgoer should vote for Barack Obama, but that Obama is "killing America" by trying to raise taxes. There's a follow-up from someone who describes himself as a "peacock farmer." Soapbox Derby: Romney didn't "Inhale Politics" – The place to be for politics at the Iowa State Fair today is the soapbox, where candidates give stump speeches. First up today is Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and GOP frontrunner. "We're led by a man who's a fine fella, but who's out of his depth." (via @michaelpfalcone) Romney also touted his business career, arguing he's not a born politician, he "didn't inhale politics." Says Obama is taking political cues from Europe, which Romney thinks is wrong. "I believe we got it right, and they got it wrong." Jon Huntsman buying pork chops on a stick (via @michaelpfalcone): Longest Line in Des Moines? – What has lines around the block at 11a in Des Moines today? Hint: it's not a Pawlenty or Bachmann event. Its sandwiches. (via @matthewbjaffe) ABC's Steven Portnoy is in search of the fried butter. What's a radio correspondent look like? Guess who's headed back to the Granite State? Here's a hint; three of his daughters are there for a debate watching party tonight. It's Jon Huntsman, of course! Read this blog from Sarah Kunin (@Sarah_Kunin) to find out where Huntsman will be in New Hampshire this weekend. Speaking of Huntsman, in Iowa today, ABC's Cindy Smith says someone asked the presidential hopeful if he'll come back to Iowa. "We'll see," Huntsman replied. "We love Iowa." Back in June, Huntsman had an explanation for his absence in the Hawkeye State. "I'm not competing in Iowa for a reason. I don't believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans," Huntsman said. And he went on, "I probably won't be spending a lot of time in Iowa. I understand how the politics work there." (via @Sarah_Kunin) Democrats in Iowa too – President Obama will soon start a bus tour through Iowa and his top surrogate, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, will speak at the soapbox too. More from @devindwyer. The uninvited: Thaddeus McCotter won't be on stage at the debate tonight, but he will be livestreaming debate responses from the WHO studio at the Iowa State Fair. (via @MichaelPFalcone) ABC's Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) tweeted that CBS' Norah O'Donnell asked Tim Pawlenty what his goals were for the big night ahead. His answer? "'To drink less than three beers after the debate.'" Michele Bachmann had just one event scheduled today before the Republican debates – a backyard chat in Ankeny with State Senator Jack Whitver – but the campaign postponed that this morning without explanation. (via @matthewbjaffe) Last night during a campaign stop in Des Moines (held at the same Mariott where Mitt Romney was prepping and then later taped his appearance on The Sean Hannity Show), Rand Paul introduced his family to the crowd. Paul has three sons – William, Duncan and Robert. Their father issued a challenge to one of the frontrunners in the presidential primary race that night: the Romneys against the Pauls in a baseball game in Ames on Saturday. Alas, it's unlikely the Romney family will accept the challenge; Mitt will be in New Hampshire this weekend. (via @Jason_Volack and @EmilyABC) Compiled by Z. Byron Wolf and Sarah Parnass Someone asks @jonhuntsman if he'll come back to Iowa. He replies "we'll see" and "we love Iowa" (via ABC's Cindy Smith)