"Thank you for standing out here!" Hillary Rodham Clinton said, shaking hands with the 10 or so Iowans who'd stood out in the chilly wind hoping to see her come out the back door after an event here. "I need your help! I want you to caucus for me!"
This kind of face-to-face interaction isn't unusual for a campaign season in Iowa, of course. But Clinton's Secret Service protection makes her a different kind of candidate: the small crowd waiting for her talked about how the Republicans coming through Iowa these days were easier to talk to, shake hands with.
When Clinton had arrived at the event in Cedar Falls earlier that morning, she'd come in a caravan of cars, and got out of a door guarded by agents. As she walked down into the basement of a bike shop, there had been silence.
"This is so anti-climactic. There should be cheering crowds and flag-waving," said Diana Smith, 50, as Clinton made her entrance. Smith had hoped to get a picture then, and wound up only with a crowd of tiny suit-wearing people in the distance. There, that's Clinton, a reporter said, pointing out one of the figures. "Is it?" Smith asked, holding the phone out to see details better.
As the event went on, a larger crowd had gathered. And as Clinton left, their shouts had now done something unexpected: they'd attracted the candidate herself.
"I need you to caucus for me," Clinton said again, moving down the line. "Thank you all so much."
As she shook hands, Clinton made rope-line small talk, hearing the things people say to politicians they don't know. One lady was from Pennsylvania: Clinton said she goes to Scranton often. Ronald "Ronzie" Zuehlke told Clinton that he'd met her husband back in the 90s.
Then she was gone, walking to a van that had crept up as she greeted them, so the walk back would be shorter. Zuehlke, 65, of Cedar Falls, was literally hopping with excitement.
"I got to shake her hand!" he said. "Wow!"
"I'm just having shakes, I'm so excited," said Linda Bodell, of Cedar Falls.
"I shook her HAND!" Zuehlke said. He was a former farmer who had stocked the pet aisle at Target for 13 years, and was now retired. "I didn't think she'd come out. Face to face! Holy smokes!"