Jan. 2 - Republican presidential hopefuls in Iowa prepare for the first of the state-by-state contests to choose a party presidential nominee. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Down to the wire in Iowa. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Representative Ron Paul are neck-and-neck in the lead in Iowa polls - but Romney is sticking to his long-standing game plan: attack U.S. President Barack Obama. On Monday, he spoke at a rally in the Mississippi River town of Davenport. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY SAYING: "He was outraged at the size of the budget deficits that President Bush had put in place. Remember, about 450 billion dollars? His are about three times that size." Even a strong second-place showing in Iowa would be good news for the former Massachusetts governor. Paul could have trouble competing with him in later contests in New Hampshire, where Romney leads in polls, and in other states. On Monday, the Texas Congressman told a rally he was a unique option in a crowded field. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEXAS CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, SAYING: "The others represent the status quo - variations of the status quo - but they're not talking about a foreign policy to defend America. They're talking about mischief around the world and policing the world. Are they talking about changing the monetary policy and looking at the basic problems with the monetary system and how it creates our financial bubbles? Do they really care about personal liberties? When you look at the votes and what the President's been doing - they don't care about your personal liberty, or it wouldn't be continuously undermined. So therefore, a lot is at stake." Paul is not the only one with momentum in Iowa. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has become a surprising contender in Iowa caucuses. On Monday in Polk City, he addressed a packed coffee shop. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICK SANTORUM, FORMER SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA, SAYING: "I would just say this, we've raised more money in the last few days than we've raised in the last few months. Going from 0 to 60 in the polls, if you will, will help to resources a lot. I think you've seen other candidates who've had the opportunity to get a little national attention and that resources have followed." The Iowa caucuses will take place on January 3, the first of the state-by-state contests to choose a party presidential nominee. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters