DES MOINES, Iowa -- Prasong Nurack gestures at the half-empty tables in his restaurant, Taste of Thailand, a few blocks from Iowa's Capitol.
"If this was July 1987, you'd have to compete for a table," Nurack said. By the Fourth of July in that presidential election season, Nurack's tasty food and informal political polls made his place a popular gathering spot for politicos and newsies. Never mind that it was seven months before Iowa's caucuses.
"People were everywhere -- reporters, politicians -- everywhere," he said.
But you'd barely know there was a campaign in Iowa so far in the summer of 1991.
Oh, there was some activity in its hinterlands last week. Former Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts journeyed from the Field of Dreams near Dyersville to the Fourth of July parade in tiny (pop. 465) Bonaparte. And a native son, Sen. Tom Harkin, wooed Iowa Democratic Party activists at closed-door meetings across the state.