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GOP in Iowa: Bachmann loses staff, Romney surges

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
New developments in the "ups and downs" in Iowa: Michele Bachmann is hit by another major defection, while Mitt Romney gains momentum as the man to beat in the Republican presidential race.

Just days before the Iowa caucuses and Michele Bachmann's campaign has suffered another setback: First her campaign chairman left to support Ron Paul. And now a second key staffer has jumped ship. Bachmann vows to press on, but instead of staying on message she's spending more time doing damage control.

The latest blow to Bachmann's campaign came late Thursday when her political director, Wes Enos, said he was leaving his job.

The departure of Enos comes one day after Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman, Kent Sorenson, left to support Ron Paul's bid for the GOP nomination.

Enos reportedly resigned after he publicly defended Sorenson against the allegation by Bachmann that Sorenson accepted money from the Paul campaign.

"I had a conversation with Kent Sorenson and in the direct conversation that I had with him, he told me that he was offered money," said Bachmann. "He was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign to go and associate with the Ron Paul campaign."

Later, on a stop to meet supporters, Bachmann showed reporters her cellphone's call log.

Sorenson meanwhile denies that any money was offered by the Paul camp, or that he accepted money to endorse Ron Paul.

"That conversation never happened, and as much respect as I have for Michele, the fact of the matter is it just didn't happen," said Sorenson. "And I think it's unfortunate they're resorting to these type of tactics."

With less than five days to go before the first votes are cast in Iowa, Mitt Romney is back on top.

The latest poll shows Iowa Republicans, even many who don't yet support Romney, say he has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama. In New Hampshire, even more believe that.

Newt Gingrich has gone from front-runner to fourth place, but Romney's allies are kicking him while he is down with yet another new attack ad Thursday.

"I'm not going to respond with negative ads. We've got plenty of ammunition, we're just not going to shoot," said Gingrich in response.

While the latest CNN poll shows Romney in the lead in the Iowa caucuses, Paul is showing a strong second place, and many say he has the ground organization to win on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is also gaining momentum, coming in third place.


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