DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNN) — It was an entrance fit for a president.
The soundtrack to the 1997 action film “Air Force One” blared from the speakers at a local airport hangar here, where hundreds were gathered outside in the cold. Their heads turned up to the sky at the roar of a Boeing 757 — Donald Trump’s private airplane was coming in for a landing.
Minutes later, the familiar navy blue plane with the giant word “TRUMP” emblazoned on its side taxied in front of the crowd. As his supporters began to chant his name, Trump stepped out and waved down to the masses and then walked down the red-carpeted stairs.
Trump boasted that as president, he could secure much better deals on his Air Force Ones, before offering up his plane to the children in the crowd.
“We’ll let the kids run through the plane!” Trump proclaimed.
And so began one of Trump’s final campaign stops in the Hawkeye State before Monday’s caucuses. The grand entrance was just one more reminder of the wealthy businessman’s utterly unconventional campaign, which is hoping for a first-place finish here that will vault him to another win in New Hampshire one week later.
But the race in Iowa is likely to be close — recent polls have shown Trump neck-and-neck with his closest rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Trump hammered away at the Texas senator with his usual list of attacks, slamming Cruz for failing to properly disclose loans for his Senate race from Goldman Sachs and Citibank, and questioning his eligibility to be president.
“You gotta prove that you’re able to run for the president of the United States,” Trump said, a reference to Cruz being born in Canada. “So that’s a problem.”
Trump, who arrived uncharacteristically late to the Dubuque rally, delivered shorter-than-usual remarks before heading south for two more stops in Clinton and Davenport.
Though his speech was largely delivered in his usual tone of confidence, it was clear that he wasn’t leaving anything to chance.
“You’ve gotta get out,” Trump urged his supporters, noting that forecasts call for a winter storm to hit the state early next week. “The storm won’t be until Tuesday … You’re from Iowa! Are you afraid of the snow?”