Dec, 14, 2007 -- When Iowa Democrat Tod Bowman got home Thursday night, he got an earful from his wife about what their fifth-grader had just done.
Earlier that day, their son, Beau Bowman, asked Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., what he would do as president if U.S. troops were not yet back from Iraq when illegal immigrants "start to take action and start bombing buildings and stuff."
When Beau Bowman's mom said how "embarrassed" she was, Tod Bowman's first reaction was that their 11-year-old had simply mangled his words.
But in an interview with ABC News on Friday, Bowman said that he now thinks it's more than likely that his son's question was prompted by immigration ads which have been bombarding Iowa in advance of the state's Jan. 3 caucuses.
"We watch probably more political shows than the normal family," said Bowman, a high-school government teacher. "He hears a lot from television commercials and those shows about immigration and terrorism and I'm sure he kind of blended them together."
While immigration comes in fifth nationwide when Republicans are asked to rank the most important issues, among Iowa Republicans it tied for first. The GOP presidential hopefuls have seized on public concern and have made it a focus of their ad campaigns.
The most graphic illegal immigration ad to air in Iowa thus far has been run by Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
The ad, which features a child covered in blood, warns that Islamic terrorists frothing with hate freely roam U.S. soil.
The ad culminates with a hooded man detonating a bomb.
You can watch the ad by clicking here.
While Tancredo's ad is the most explicit, he is far from alone in making the connection between illegal immigration and national security.
Former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas sits atop the polls in Iowa, is currently running an ad in the Hawkeye State in which he says, "Our government has failed us. Build a border fence. Secure the border. And do it now."
While Bowman is a Democrat who endorsed Obama earlier this year, he senses potential danger for his party on immigration.
"Any Democrat that doesn't come off hard on immigration is going to be vulnerable on that issue," said Bowman.
Illegal immigration "lights up 90 percent of Iowans," he said. "They identify quickly with that. They see it as a threat to their way of life."
Small Town, Big Politics
This is not the Bowman family's first brush with the national spotlight this presidential campaign season.
Earlier this year, after a town hall meeting with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Bowman asked the former first lady about the possibility of raising taxes to support Social Security.
Clinton told Bowman that she would consider applying the 12.4 percent Social Security tax to income above $200,000 while exempting income between $97,500 and $200,000.
That position was counter to statements Clinton had made on the same issue in the past.
Reached by ABC News in October, Bowman confirmed the substance of the exchange.
"Maybe I'm too harsh," Bowman told ABC News, "but it doesn't surprise me that any candidate would do a kind of flip-flopping, if I may use that term."
The episode is a reminder of just how intimate an affair the Iowa caucuses are.
Clinton recently asked Teresa Vilmain, her Iowa state director, how many times an average caucus-goer would likely hear her in person before caucusing.
Her director told her "four times."
That's two and counting for Tod Bowman.