All eyes on Iowa ahead of Tuesday caucuses - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

All eyes on Iowa ahead of Tuesday caucuses


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Five days before the Iowa caucus, Republican candidates are traveling the state, playing up their conservative credentials and questioning those of their rivals. And they're trying to tamp down support for the newest front-runners, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.

Romney, who began his campaign by de-emphasizing Iowa, has been gaining ground in the state. Polls show him in a strong position to either win the caucuses or finish in second place. A strong showing would give the former Massachusetts governor momentum heading into the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary.

Paul has been drawing crowds with his small-government, libertarian approach. The Texas congressman got a surprise endorsement last night from Michele Bachmann's former state chairman, who defected hours after campaigning at her side. The Minnesota congresswoman is dismissing any suggestion that her campaign is in disarray.

Also rising in Iowa polls is Rick Santorum, who has logged more miles in the state than any of his rivals.

Rick Perry, who's been slipping in the polls, took aim at Santorum today, saying he had loaded up legislation with pork-barrel spending for Pennsylvania when he was in the Senate.

Newt Gingrich, also sliding, is hoping to refocus his campaign on differences with Romney on economic policy.

One candidate who's skipping Iowa is Jon Huntsman. As he put it today on "The Early Show" on CBS: "They pick corn in Iowa. They actually pick presidents here in New Hampshire."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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