20080102 clinton in iowa 77814525 18
Former president Bill Clinton hugs Marie Sisley at Penny's Diner in Iowa, where he stopped for lunch while campaigning on behalf of his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton. - 


Scott Jagow: If you've watched any cable news lately, it seems like the whole country has moved to Iowa. The presidential candidates have spent so much time there, they might be eligible to vote for themselves in the caucuses. All that attention has been a big boon for Iowa's economy. Jeremy Hobson has more.

Jeremy Hobson: Greg Edwards is president of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says the caucuses bring in $25 million to Iowa's biggest city, and an additional $75 million to the rest of the state.

Greg Edwards: This is definitely a big shot in the arm for the economy, especially coming in over the holidays.

He says all the reporters and campaign staff in the state have been eating, sleeping,
and perhaps for the first time in Caucus history, doing their holiday shopping at Iowa businesses.

When the political circus departs for New Hampshire, Iowan's will notice, he says. But business as usual ain't so bad.

Edwards: Des Moines, for the most part in January. February, that's the time that we host a lot of the agriculture type conventions in town.

Dave Panther, who runs the Hamburg Inn diner in Iowa City, agrees. Sure, he says, candidate visits have helped offset slow winter sales.

Dave Panther: We've had John McCain, John Edwards, Mitt Romney.

But, he says, Iowa's Football Season is still his busiest time of year.

I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson