He may not look like an underdog, traveling through Iowa's skies in gleaming Air Force Two and across its roads in a 15-car motorcade, but that was the image George Bush is trying to present to Iowa voters as the caucuses draw near.
Bush hopscotched across the state Saturday to "caucus countdown" rallies in five cities, challenging voters to give him a victory as they did in 1980, when, like this year, he also was not expected to win.
"I wouldn't be standing here as vice president if it hadn't been for Iowa," he told a few hundred voters in Burlington. "I know how important it is now, these Iowa caucuses. In a sense they're everything."
Bush also reminded voters he was counted out of Michigan's delegate selection process this winter but came back to win more delegates than his competitors. (He did not add that his victory there owed as much to courtroom victories as to actual voter support.)
During his day of campaigning, Bush steered clear of reporters, took no questions from his audiences and made no specific references to the Iowa front-runner, Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.